aintaining objectivity as a journalist isvital to accuracy and fairness in re-porting. So when reactions to theFourth of July parade began streaming in—asthey do every year—I bit my tongue and simplypublished them.
We cut off the parade letters early this year, perhaps too early,but I sensed where things were going and am opposed to “bash-ing” any segment of our community.The dissimilarities among Claremont residents are fascinat-ing. It’s the best part of living here and communal events likethe Fourth of July serve as a reminder of how well we can cel-ebrate together. These events are the foundation of Claremontand, dare I say, America.When you sit on the curb andwatch the parade—or boldly marchdown the middle of Indian Hill—you are witnessing the very essenceof community. Church groups, kidson bikes, gays, straights, the elderly,the young… the only thing missingin recent years were the lawn mowers and twiddlers. It betterserves our community to embrace our differences rather thanpass lifestyle judgments on one another.While doing research for an article in today’s edition (page 3),city reporter Tony Krickl came across a My Side of the Linewritten 30 years ago by Martin Weinberger. It was published inresponse to an uproar at Claremont’s 1980 parade. He has beenat it much longer than me and, simply put, said it better.I will defer to Martin on this one.
Claremont COURIER/Saturday, July 24, 2010
The Claremont Courier (United States Postal Service 115-180) is published twice weekly by the Courier Graphics Corpo-ration at 1420 N. Claremont Blvd., Suite 205B, Claremont, California 91711-5003. The Courier is a newspaper of generalcirculation as defined by the political code of the state of California, entered as periodicals matter September 17, 1908 atthe post office at Claremont, California under the act of March 3, 1879. Periodicals postage is paid at Claremont, California91711-5003. Single copy: 75 cents. Annual subscription: $52.00. Send all remittances and correspondence about sub-scriptions, undelivered copies and changes of address to the Courier, 1420 N. Claremont Blvd., Suite 205B, Claremont, Cal-ifornia 91711-5003. Telephone: 909-621-4761. Copyright © 2010 Claremont Courier
one hundred and second year, number 59
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Parading our politics
by Kathryn Dunn, Managing EditorOriginally published July 9, 1980
Can a Fourth of July parade entrant display a message toelect Ronald Reagan as President and another propose JamesLloyd for Congress while a third, suggesting that draft regis-tration be abolished, be unacceptable?On Friday the Fourth, members of the city’s Fourth of Julycommittee told those at the Pomona Valley Council for Peacebooth to stop circulating anti-draft petitions.A relatively short distance away, perhaps the width of theDelaware River, orator T. Willard Hunter was reciting the mag-nificent, inspiring story of the Fourth. It was filled with refer-ences to revolution, political and economic freedoms and theconsiderable courage of those who spoke out against tyranny.I think Claremont’s Fourth of July parade is pretty terrific. Itis wonderful to view the earnest, proud kids rolling by on bi-cycles, the tumblers, the riders on horseback, the musicalgroups and the beauty queens. They all form a great bunch.But the Fourth of July is more important than all of thoseaforementioned marchers. It is a day to mark our independenceas a nation. It is a day of homage to the freedom of politicalexpression.I think candidates and officeholders belong in the parade.They seem to be acceptable to everyone. Raise a controversialissue, however, and the fears that free speech somehow has noplace in the parade overcome good judgment.Suppose Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and GeorgeWashington had been sitting on an Indian Hill Boulevard curblast Friday. They would have certainly appreciated and enjoyedthe passing parade and its diverse group of participants, fromlawn mowers to a prone Uncle Sam.What would they have said about the abolition of politicalideas? Such action—the proposition that the Fourth of July isan occasion for fun and not politics—probably would haveshocked and stunned them deeply. After all, the British proba-bly scheduled some holidays forfun so why bother with the revo-lution?It is a compliment to Claremontthat the great issues of the daymanage to surface within the com-munity. It is less of a complimentthat some of us insist on stiflingpeaceful protest that accompaniesthe raising of such issues.About 10 years ago, the townand the nation were divided overthe course of the Viet Nam war.An anti-war group wanted to entera float in the Fourth of July pa-rade. The hearings and delibera-tions never seemed to end. Finally, an innocuous wagon,carrying children and adults, was allowed to support peace.A group of American Legionnaires from the Covina areashowed up on the Fourth. They placed themselves at the head of the parade, carrying a banner to support our troops in Viet Nam.They had no permit. There was no discussion. No one raised aprotest. No one, except the COURIER, asked who they were.It is difficult to oppose what appears to be a patriotic mes-sage. It is also difficult to accept a controversial issue that hasnot been resolved.Our problem may be the message and not the medium. Weshould remember that the Fourth of July itself was once an im-mensely controversial political issue.In 1776, who would have opposed a holiday parade with anycontentious ideas? The British, of course. Who would havesupported it? Jefferson, Franklin, Washington and a few otherswe think of as the fathers of our country.That ought to be a lesson about future Fourth of July parades.
An advocate for free speech
by Martin Weinberger