December 3, 2018
A College Republicans adviser claimed that Antifa activists vandalized his house with the words “Nazi lives here.”
David Bridges, adviser to the Purdue University College Republicans student group, woke up on Nov. 18 to red dye covering his driveway and the words, “Nazi lives here” scrawled in white spray paint on the garage door. Bridges claimed that the perpetrators of the vandalism were Antifa activists, according to the Lafayette Journal & Courier.
Bridges scrubbed the garage clean with gasoline and cleared the driveway of the dye, but not before he and his wife submitted photos with a note of the incident to the West Lafayette, Ind. Police Department.
Initially, police officers were concerned that this was a politically-charged occurrence. When contemplating what other incidents may have been the catalyst for the vandalism, police were able to identify a potential impetus.
The week prior to and the week of the Nov. 6 midterm election, Bridges’ role in relation to the Purdue University College Republicans group circulated online with regard to a poster attributed to the Purdue GOP found on campus outlining reasons to vote Republican.
Across the top of the poster was the bold headline, “Jobs Not Mobs,” alluding to a Twitter hashtag that President Donald Trump frequently used during the midterm election season. The left half of the poster included the word “Jobs” in red print. It portrayed a white-skinned hand giving the “OK” hand gesture, a symbol frequently made by Trump and which left-wing activists have cast as a symbol of white supremacy. The right half of the poster displayed the “not Mobs” portion of the hashtag in blue ink and displayed a brown-skinned fist. Along the bottom of the poster was the Purdue College Republicans Twitter handle.
Some university community members expressed concerned with the posters online. Bridges claims that he never approved the idea for the posters and that he understands the concerns on campus.
“You don’t go putting things up that say, ‘White power,’ and then go sticking a Republican logo next to it. I find it pretty offensive, and I certainly would not have approved it if it had ever come to me,” Bridges said, referring to the OK-hand, reported the Lafayette Journal & Courier. “I honestly can’t see that it’s defensible.”
“Unfortunately, the use of that gesture as being an OK signal has declined, and it has been adopted by many as a symbol of white power,” Bridges added. “It is used in that sense by social media trolls. Of course, its ambiguity is very convenient, but I am afraid that excuse does not hold much water given the context.”
During the election season, an individual asked on Twitter whether or not the College Republicans were responsible for the posters. The @PurdueGOP account responded by saying: “yes,” including a Donald Trump meme and the phrase, “deal with it.”
On Wednesday, Bridges stated that the student group used the hand gesture as an “OK” sign, but is considering removing himself as the group’s faculty adviser because of the controversy and the alleged offensive nature of the symbol.
A Purdue College Republicans spokesman expressed concern over the vandalism at Bridges’ home, when speaking with Campus Reform.
“While we knew that the posters would be controversial, we were blindsided by how many people actually considered the ‘okay’ hand gesture to be a symbol of white supremacy, and how quickly a representative club of the Republican party could be labeled and persecuted [as a ‘Nazi’].”
This article was posted: Monday, December 3, 2018 at 6:54 am