Supports free speech in parade

Letter to the editor

Posted: Wednesday, July 21, 2004

I am very upset that the Fourth of July Committee now plans to decide which entries are inappropriate or of volatile political content and then ban them from 4th of July parades. They will utilize their own standards to define what is appropriate. Their pious claim of supporting the First Amendment seems hollow, specious and made a mockery by these planned actions.

I very seriously question the qualifications of this committee as final arbitrators of what is or isn't proper, tasteful or appropriate political content. And, what is the 4th of July celebration all about anyway, if not about freedom? Freedom of expression is a cherished American right whether one agrees with the message or not.

That this committee has decided it has the right or duty to censor the message of potential parade entries should raise an immediate red flag and be a cause of serious concern for all of us. That is the kind of thing done in Red China and other totalitarian regimes. There is a very disturbing trend in the United States today to control and stifle public expression and debate, especially if it opposes the current administration. Our country was founded on personal freedoms and not fascism, or support for the state above all else.

Censorship or banning of public comment or expression has no place in our country. It also happens to be unconstitutional and illegal.

Anne Pennington


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