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Phil In The Blank

Phil in the Blank A column by Phil Custodio

Parade etiquette

July 23, 2014 - This week's letter to the editor regarding the incident at the Fourth of July parade is interesting. I was at Clintonwood Park getting ready for the veterans' activities during the parade so I missed it.

Something about the out-of-control booer, cool and witty retort by the parade marcher, and mass approval of the crowd seemed vulnerable to exaggeration.

In this age of social media, however, it was easy to check. Post it on Facebook and see what the Internet had to say. With thousands in attendance at the parade and 2,808 "Likes" on the Clarkston News page, there was an excellent chance at least someone would be able to corroborate the account. Three were able to do so.

"This really happened," posted Roxanne Rollison. "The gentleman was standing right next to me and my family! At first I thought he knew those in the parade and was 'heckling' them! And while I agree that Obamacare is TERRIBLE for our country, his behavior (and the timing) was very inappropriate!!"

"I heard it too, so disappointing," agreed Stacey Cronin Frankovich. "The adults should be able to model appropriate behavior in front of children. The Clarkston 4th of July parade has been a tradition for my family for years and I would hate to think it can be ruined by ignorant, small minded people."

Candidate Phillip Reid was in the parade when it happened.

"I was walking in the parade with the North Oakland Democratic Club and can attest that it happened," Reid posted.

Obamacare and other national issues are hugely important in people's lives, but there were many reasons not to boo, including the parade was a time for celebration and kids were there.

It was also out of place. Checking out Phil's photos from the parade on Facebook, they marched with lots of red white and blue and candidate banners. No "yay Obamacare" banners that I could see.

And it was counterproductive. The Democrats won that particular encounter with a single cool retort.

Freedom of Speech is our right and one of the main reasons people were marching that day. But silence is also powerful. I've seen entire crowds go dead quiet before, to signal disapproval. It would be hard to argue with that.

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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