Play nice at parade

Letter to the editor

Posted: Monday, July 19, 2004

There has been much discussion over the ridiculing of our President in the Fourth of July parade, and I have avoided making any comment. However, Michael Partlow's letter struck a nerve and I am compelled to comment. Mr. Partlow discusses that it is the right of free speech, so cherished by all, that was being exercised by that display in the parade and it was true freedom and patriotism. He is correct about the importance of the freedom of speech.

While I will defend the freedoms outlined in our Constitution to the death, I cannot help but question where do you draw the line? You can have free speech, but you may not slander. The parade is a festivity to a large extent for the youth. Most kids were too young to catch what was going on there, but even my 8-year-old son asked, "Why were they making fun of the president of the United States." His comment spoke volumes. "Dad, don't they know it's not nice to make fun of people? They wouldn't like it very much if President Bush made fun of them like that." He is being raised as a patriot, and a good citizen. He understands that you can disagree with a person without ridiculing them, and that you respect the position as well as the individual dignity.

We are all humans, and politicians are no exception. We make mistakes in our lives, but we do the best we can with what we've got. Excellence is the standard, but grace is the rule. Do your best, but forgive and understand if you fall short, and keep trying.

I will avoid any partisan comments, but I guarantee that if we went through the lives of anyone in Juneau to the degree that President Bush's life has been scrutinized, we could embarrass a lot of people. He may not be the perfect president, but he is the president, and a good human being. He deserves a measure of respect that was not accorded him in the parade. Even an 8-year-old could see that was wrong.

People need to cut out the win-at-all-costs attitude that has invaded our lives, especially politics, and remember what you were taught in kindergarten. Treat others how you want to be treated, play nice, have a cookie and go take a nap.

Allen Butner


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