Place the blame on the rock throwers, not sign

Published 9:37 am Friday, July 11, 2008

In regard to the dustup over the sign in the parade, would someone please tell me how a person can be racist when no race was specifically mentioned on this sign? The sign was about illegal immigration. Everyone immediately jumps to the conclusion that this is directed at the Hispanic community. While Hispanics may make up a disproportionate number of illegal immigrants, there are many others who also arrive here illegally. To the gentleman whose wife was injured by the rock throwers, my apologies, but I must disagree with your comments about being selective in what and who we allow in the parade.

As a veteran who has seen a large portion of this world, I will gladly defend anyone’s right to speak or say what is appropriate and factual. It is a right guaranteed by the constitution. Should we begin to decide what is appropriate and what is not? We then remove that right and set ourselves up for a fight in court that the city, or any other decision-making body, such as the parade committee, cannot win.

The guilty party in this whole incident is not the people who sponsored the sign but those who decided to throw rocks without regard to the consequences of their actions. I personally saw nothing offensive nor racist in the message on that sign. It is not the place of the parade committee nor any other body to determine what is offensive. What may be offensive to one person may not be to another. The neo-Nazi groups of this country have fought and won the right to march in parades and the message they preach is offensive to most people. What is so offensive about a message on a parade sign that is based on facts than a group of neo-Nazis whose message is more hateful. Let’s not even get into the mess that will come should we begin to make decisions about who or what can or cannot be in a parade. If this happens, then many entries would be disqualified.

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John Cook

Albert Lea