Sunday, October 02, 2005

Volunteer Hoosier notes that extremist venom rained on at least part of the Harvest Homecoming Parade.

If, as we have, you've found yourself wondering exactly what type of person would be so rude as to sanction hijacking New Albany's much-loved Harvest Homecoming Parade for the staging of obnoxious political theatrics, then there's must reading for you over at Volunteer Hoosier, in Process Matters, Redux, by Randy Smith.

Here are edited excerpts:

Boorishness is not usually the norm for Harvest Homecoming in Floyd County. At least that’s what folks tell me. You see, this was my first Harvest Homecoming parade, and I found it inspiring ...

... Yet, reports continue to filter in that some city residents, conditioned to the generation of random objections, saw in this unifying event an opportunity to pollute the atmosphere with personal animosity toward those with whom they purport to disagree ...

... But then, isn't that the hallmark of all those who hide in the bushes and launch anonymous diatribes, of all those who refuse to be accountable themselves? Why would they make any efforts to be accountable to their fellow citizens?

Hmm, we're guessing that this absence of acccountability might have something to do with a consistently (and proudly) stated contempt for knowledge and the the veracity of human reason, which are the foundation of our system of laws and of civil society itself.

The chest-thumping "mad as hell" element described by Randy insists on conjuring grandiose, conspiratorial and entirely imaginary scenarios of a local political situation so desperate that the rule of law can no longer be relied upon as a corrective, which in turn absolves those involved from responsibility when they take matters into their own hands and begin to perpetrate the real-world violence that they are, in fact, encouraging each and every day through their anonymous (and, yes, cowardly) incitements of hatred.


At the same time, while it's true that ill-tempered, semi-literate rantings uttered by hysterical folks with bags on their heads who are fostering a lynch mob mentality are in extremely bad taste, poor judgment isn't yet illegal.

It's sad, but almost certainly intentional, that an otherwise unifying community event like a parade was politicized and chosen as a forum to express hatred for those facets of the world that elude the ones whose veins bulge with anger.

Let's just hope that any children present were focused on the acceptable, fun activities taking place in the street, and not too closely observing the sidewalk behavior of self-loathing adults who should know better -- but choose not to, and take pride in their ignorance of civility.


TS said...
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Anonymous said...

I believe in our Constitution and in the rights it provides, but it certainly is disappointing that we continue to see a men and women without the integrity and the moral conduct to think about others before they choose some of these offensive acts.

It is sad that a few unruly thugs find opportunities to exercise their free speech rights yet trashing the rights of others enjoying such a wonderful social event that is bringing joy to the majority.

If this truly was organized, I agree that they should be arrested and put in jail and whoever organized it, held accountable. When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends.

Ann said...

I can certainly appreciate the sentiments of all of us who attend the parade to celebrate and have a good time. But I disagree with the contention that the group gathered at the corner of Vincennes and Spring were engaging in unlawful activity.

A parade permit was issued, which gives the public the right to assemble. So there really is no difference between a group agreeing to meet on the corner to cheer the soldiers going by, or another group arranging to meet to boo the Mayor as he goes by–except, of course the viewpoints expressed by either group.

The New Albanian said...

As the contrarian blogger, I accuse them only of tasteless activities, and of contradictions and hypocrisy when it comes to their frequent droolings as to what is best for the community.

Furthermore, utterances that are designed specifically to incite hatred and to encourage extralegal and potentially violent "solutions" to problems voiced by straw men remain culpable, entirely and completely. See the entry under "Imams and terrorism."

Annie, understand that I appreciate your position -- alternately scourged by the more virulent of the trogs and yet close to some who are allied with them.

Your examination of conscience last week was compelling, and now I ask: Did you also consider the implications when your words become intellectually "acceptable" fodder to be used by the inarticulate and anti-social elements as justification, when at the same time most of them currently would like nothing more than to purge the ranks of those who are capable of "doing" -- that group that includes you?

I say this not in hostility, but in sharing your own frustration, a topic we've discussed. The grand coalition we so desperately need perhaps will not come about owing to reluctance to occupy the same page. This isn't about two-party politics, it's about personalities and the demons they -- we -- harbor.

The sooner there's an exorcism, the better.

All4Word said...

Again, whether it was unlawful or not, it was inexcusably boorish. And it was unlawful. That they weren't arrested does not mean it was lawful. That they feel aggrieved and must express it merely means they should be willing to pay the price for that expression.

Ann said...

I agree that we all must be responsible for our behavior and accept culpability for the results thereof. I also believe that unpopular (and many times negative) speech is necessary, and that hate it as many of us may, it must remain a freedom for us all.

To your question, New Albanian: a resounding yes. As a matter of fact, it was the most compelling reason. Frustration is too small a word.

Brandon W. Smith said...

Were these people blocking the street or just standing on the side of the road yelling at the parade? If they were just standing on the side of a parade yelling, that isn't illegal. In fact, it is one of the most protected forms of speech we have.

You don't need a permit to hold a demonstration (thank goodness!). You only need a permit and/or are subject to reasonable restrictions when using the public streets and public property, and even then they can't regulate the content of your speech.

I didn't see them, but, from what has been posted, it seems like the demonstrators were in bad taste...but at least they are out, in public, expressing their views. It actually gives me a shred of respect for them.

All4Word said...

Is the Bliss family part of the thuggery? I've never seen any indication that any of that family would have been proud to have their property serve as the war camp for trogs.

The New Albanian said...

Southwest corner of Vincennes and Spring?

If so, chosen because of James the Cleaner.

And no, I seriously doubt if the Bliss family would approve.

ceece said...

From my viewpoint on the ESNA float there were indeed children present and even participating. holding signs that said "Save my Daddies Job". My only concern was where Garner was riding. Was he on the same float as the 151st?
If people were booing at him and he was on that float, I hope the military men and their families didn't receive that wrong.

The New Albanian said...

Annie, I feel your pain.

In fact, I felt it for the first time last winter, when I realized that (a) I was wrong, and even worse, (b) my words were being used by people who'd happily pack me on box cars for a trip to Guantanamo (or Mississippi) if given half the chance.

When the cure is far worse than the problem, it's time to reassess the medication -- right, Health Blogger?

Only one thing matters, if any of us care to be adults and deal with it in a forthright manner.

The tent needs to be bigger, and it needs to include all those who are capable, irrespective of party affiliation, religious denomination, sexual orientation, choice of music and whichever personalities previously clashed.

As one who hasn't been wearing a bag over my head, I'll do my part.

The New Albanian said...

"Save my Daddies Job".

concern taxpayer must have been holding the crayon when that one was written.

ceece said...

hehe I was wondering if anyone else would catch that :-)

Ann said...

Ceece, the mayor was in a car. The 151st was on a separate float. I was sitting on the sidewalk across from Coyle Chevrolet (although the rumor mill will eventually have me eating chili and drinking Progressive beer, I'll wager) and people stood and clapped when the soldiers passed by.

ceece said...

thanks for that info Ann. :-)

Jeff Gillenwater said...


Had you actually been eating chili and drinking Progressive beer, your experience with the 151st float would've been exactly the same.

I'm sure the rumor mill won't report that, either.

The New Albanian said...

The 151st got a standing "O" from the Confidential porch.

Ann said...

I imagine the 151st had people on their feet, clapping, the whole parade route.

Who the heck did that big mallard duck float? That was too funny! Especially the music--Disco Duck!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes doing nothing is the best answer. But in areas even outside of health, you will rarely find anyone to choose this path.

There are people who want treatment no matter what the consequence and they a lot of times will continue with their bad habits.

Jeff Gillenwater said...

Regardless of the usual naysayers, the day I had Saturday could've been a commercial for downtown redevelopment and new urbanism in general.

The morning included a visit to the Farmers Market, coffee and croissants at Ermin's, a little window shopping, and a bucolic stroll up Main.

Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Confidential, my afternoon was spent enjoying the parade in a beautiful historic home with friends old and new, sharing food, beverage, and engaging conversation ranging in topic from family and heritage to postmodernism.

Later in the evening, one of the farmer's daughters from the ESSNA float (my wife) and I took to the streets for a little local music and a few more laughs.

My car keys didn't leave my pocket all day.

We'll all probably face more arguments and opposition on this particular revitalization trip, but it was nice to catch such a solid view of the destination for once.

The New Albanian said...

Thanks, Bluegill, we were very happy with the day and hope that there'll be many more to come.

We talked it over yesterday, and of the 60 or so people who stopped by, probably 20-25 were ones I didn't know two years ago.

That, to me, is the important part.

ceece said...

Glad to hear of the support for our troops. (maybe I am a little biased though)

Would have liked to stop by-and thanks for the invite, but the baby was already hot and cranky-as was his mom :-)

Glad to hear of all the networking

Karen Gillenwater said...

It was a good day all around. I’m glad to hear that the 151st received such a warm welcome along the parade route—I didn’t expect any different. They were given an ovation by all of the people on the other floats as they passed through to start the parade.

I was very proud of our neighborhood through the day as I saw so many people pull together to create a fun experience for everyone and as the ESNA float received such an enthusiastic reception from our neighbors along the parade route. Thanks to all of you who were there cheering us on!

And the duck—a favorite of the folks on the ESNA float too—hailed from Duckville, Indiana (located near Ferdinand, I heard).

DanainNewAlbany said...

ESNA: congrats on the float. I missed the parade due to work, but from what I can tell in the pictures I've seen, you guys did a fantastic job!

Bluegill: I was explaining to a suburban-dweller, co-worker of mine what I did last Tuesday evening. I explained that I went for a walk with a neighbor in the late afternoon. During our walk, we stopped by the Carnegie Center to check out "Rhapsody in Rugs", shopped at Destinations, had dinner at Federal Hill, and made it to Ermin's before they closed for a "sin bar". We also dropped by the soon-to-open ballroom dance studio on Pearl to inquire about lessons (tango). What a great evening! Just like your day on Saturday, my keys didn't leave my pocket that evening either. As I told my co-worker: "You can't do that in Shady Acres!"