Two sides to every coin

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Dear Editor,

I wish to take issue with Russ Porterfield’s letter regarding the parade and politics.

I agree, the First Amendment is a wonderful thing and that with this freedom comes responsibility. And in a democracy, “responsibility” requires and allows speaking out when confronted by injustice, abuse of power or at any time if feeling aggrieved.

Specifically, current polls suggest 80 percent now believe the Iraq war was a mistake and that its justification was based on less than the absolute truth. In addition, President Bush’s approval rating is at an all time low.

Mayor Porterfield suggests that the Fourth of July parade was an inappropriate venue for these views to be aired.

Really? I thought this holiday in particular was to celebrate love of country, our constitution, the freedoms guaranteed within it, and to demonstrate one’s “patriotism.”

Is a statement only patriotic if it does not question the actions of government?

And most importantly, who better to demonstrate this than the veterans who have risked their lives to guaranty this very liberty? They have earned the right in my estimation.

There was no profanity or vulgarity associated with either of the parade participants referred to; and suggesting that the venue was inappropriate is to imply that “appropriateness” should be something defended by law.

Is that not an attempt, however veiled, at censorship? Must protest only occur at a given time and place? I think not.

I support Mayor Porterfield’s right to speak his mind. That’s what freedom of speech is all about. I only wish he’d identified the participants to clarify the reader’s understanding of his remarks.

Were more of us to speak out and express our opinions, we would be a far richer country for it. This is the only way I know to achieve any semblance of a true consensus.

Richard Derwingson

Mount Shasta