Editorial: No escape from politics

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On the finish of one other tough and exhausting 12 months, one would hope that the vacation season would possibly present a respite from the divisiveness and ugliness that appears far too widespread in American life.

However in York County, even a cherished group custom couldn’t escape the foul stench of politics.

On Saturday night, individuals gathered alongside the banks of the York River to benefit from the Yorktown Basis’s Lighted Boat Parade, the twenty fifth 12 months of the occasion. They loved caroling, a seashore bonfire, a fife and drum band and free scorching cider.

These are the opening acts for the spotlight of the evening: the parade of elaborately embellished boats, every celebrating a vacation theme meant to share the enjoyment of the Christmas season. A panel votes to award “Greatest in Present” honors to one of many entrants.

That ought to be the form of healthful, family-friendly occasion that conjures up group pleasure and vacation cheer.

This 12 months, nevertheless, one boat was bedecked in an overtly political message moderately than something having to do with Christmas. Invoice Berger of Gloucester Level embellished his vessel with lights that learn “Let’s Go Brandon” and “FJB.”

That’s right-wing slang for “F— Joe Biden,” an insult that originated at a NASCAR race in October. A broadcaster protecting the race instructed the tv viewers that the group chanting the vulgarity was truly cheering for driver Brandon Brown. Opponents of the president latched onto the phrase.

Clearly, it was an excessive amount of to hope {that a} vacation parade might be spared such ridiculousness. Why promote peace on Earth and goodwill towards males when you would as an alternative hurl slurs on the president and alienate his supporters (and anybody who simply needed one blessed evening free from politics)?

In fact, it’s one factor for the boat’s proprietor to needlessly inject politics and vulgarity into a vacation occasion. However the panel of judges — which included York County Board of Supervisors Chairman Chad Inexperienced and York-Poquoson Sheriff J.D. “Danny” Diggs — compounded the absurdity by awarding the boat “Greatest in Present.”

Maybe the judges are enamored by indecent grade-school humor. Maybe they suppose it’s humorous to make use of vulgarity at a vacation parade attended by households and youngsters. Maybe they’re blinded by their hatred of the president. F Joe Biden. Har har.

However holding that boat up as the very best entry on the parade comes at a price.

The status of the Yorktown Basis, which sponsors the occasion and is dependent upon donations, will take successful. Some individuals will select to skip the occasion subsequent 12 months, the bitter style lingering. And one thing meant to convey the group collectively has as an alternative pushed it additional aside.

Mockingly the type of people that in all probability beloved the boat are the identical individuals decrying the shortage of civility in American life and the lack of “conventional” values in our nation, at the same time as they put on their “Let’s Go Brandon” shirts and fly “F— Biden” flags in entrance of their houses.

They’ll attempt to justify their actions by pointing to Democrats, who used their very own colourful and vulgar language to demean former President Donald Trump. However that’s the form of justification youngsters use when caught exhibiting unhealthy judgment. If Jimmy jumped off a cliff, would you?

People are extremely lucky to benefit from the constitutional proper to free expression. That ought to be strenuously defended, even in instances similar to this.

However that proper comes with duties as properly, and just because you possibly can damage a vacation parade by making it political doesn’t imply you must. Attempt eager about others as an alternative of your self.

It’s refreshing to see the extent of civic engagement all through America right this moment, however how a lot better would this nation be if that keenness was persistently directed towards constructive ends?

After one other exhausting 12 months, all of us may use a break from politics — from the combating and divisiveness and ugliness. What a disgrace that even a vacation parade can’t present that escape.

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