Haul who away?

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2004

There is a lot of irony in the idea of a parade committee suppressing criticism of government officials during the 4th of July parade, but I'm not going to go there. I want to comment on the coming discussion by the 16 members of our local committee about how, exactly, they will regulate and control free speech during the parade next year. If their discussion is out in the open, it should provide the rest of us with some great comedy through the fall, winter and spring.

The committee says it is going to get the police to enforce committee rules. That being so, I'm especially looking forward to seeing the committee's instructions to the police department. Police officers along the parade route will need guidance from the committee when it comes to deciding who should be hauled away, or have their sign or costume taken away, and whose sign or costume is sufficiently bland and boring that they can be allowed, by the police, to continue participating.

Here's a question to help the committee start its discussions of these police guidelines: Since John Kerry will probably be president during next year's parade, I'm wondering what will happen if I carry a big sign that says "John Kerry is a rotten guy." The question is: Should the committee tell the police to haul me away?

Jerry Smetzer


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