Being a new resident of the Brainerd lakes area, I looked forward to the Independence Day celebration with great anticipation. It's widely known this area takes great pride in the way it celebrates the birth of our nation.
It was with disappointment, however, that I witnessed the controversy surrounding the parade. As I watched the group from BACP, I sensed a disturbance in my fellow parade-goers. Up to that point, the audience was unified -- suddenly we were faced with a choice: Should we clap, or boo; stand with respect for our nation's flag, or turn our back; should we support their "right to free speech" graciously, or flaunt opposing opinions?
The celebration of our country's independence from tyranny soon turned into a march espousing a particular group's beliefs and opinions. I applaud their willingness to boldly exercise their right to march for their beliefs. I suggest, however, that the Independence Day parade is not the proper forum. If we allow this group to protest in such a manner, soon the parade will be filled with groups marching for and against abortion; others marching for and against same-sex marriage; groups marching for and against taxation issues; etc. A parade meant to remind us that a spirit of unity brought us the gift of free speech, will soon turn into a divisive march for political activism.
This issue is not about constitutional rights, it's about whether or not an Independence Day parade is the appropriate place for expression of one's opinions. This parade should be filled with organizations that are willing to encourage reflection upon the reasons we celebrate the Fourth of July. Let the BACP and other groups participate, but within the guidelines of the remembrance of this time-honored celebration. Activism can be saved for another day.
Lisa D. Stone
ATV damage on roads
I see that the Crow Wing County Highway Department is repairing the ATV damaged road crossings and ATV damaged private driveways between Brainerd and Merrifield. This is the second time that the ATV damage to Kennedy and Spencer roads has been repaired.
If your driveway has ATV damage I would suggest you contact the Crow Wing County Highway department at 824-1110 to let them know you would like your driveway fixed. Also, if you see that ATV ruts are undermining the asphalt of a county road and causing it to crumble I would suggest you let them know where the damage is occurring. It will save tax dollars in the long run to repair it before major asphalt repairs are needed.
Dissent is not unpatriotic
I do not consider myself to be extremely political. However, the state of American politics has become very ugly. As a liberal I did not support the war in Iraq, and I get very angry when people call me unamerican or unpatriotic. The talk radio clowns (Limbaugh) are always accusing the liberal democrats of launching a hateful Bush-bashing campaign. In fact, any criticism of Bush or his policies is seen by them as Anti-American. To me, criticism is just good old fashioned debate. It's the first amendment at it's best. Limbaugh seems to have forgot his eight year assault on Bill Clinton. There's real hypocrisy on the Republican side. All this said, I was blown away when I stumbled upon a website while planning a vacation to Niagara Falls. The site, http://partofniagara.com was offering a gift for a $30 donation. The gift was a French Deportation Packet to be given to any liberal by the conservative contributor! This is what I consider extreme and Anti-American. Just because I do not support Bush's policies, including the mess in Iraq, does not make me unpatriotic!
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