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People are thick skinned regarding race
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Dear Editor:
Jim Misunas’ editorial, Clown Act – Questionable Move Crosses the Line (Tribune, Aug. 21), is a perfect example of how thin-skinned people have become with regard to race since the election of Barack Obama. I can personally recall every sitting president going back to Richard Nixon being lampooned mercilessly, none so much as George W. Bush, who was cast in every possible way as a buffoon. Furthermore, some of the so-called “comedic” attacks against him were downright violent and unspeakable – i.e., a scene in a popular television series depicting Bush’s severed head impaled on a spear - and in my opinion bordered on personal threats. But now that we have a dark-skinned president – he is biracial, not black – no one dares to make a joke about him. It is nothing new for a clown – or even for someone who isn’t a clown – to don a mask resembling a sitting president and act outrageously to get laughs. Have you never watched Saturday Night Live? What is unusual is for anyone to lose their job, their livelihood, as a result of it. Members of the Westboro Bible Baptist Church rally at the funerals of people they don’t even know, shouting epithets and disrupting services, but that’s considered “free speech”. Nazi groups hold public demonstrations and denigrate Jews and anyone else they feel like persecuting, and that’s considered “free speech.” People like Bill Maher make vile remarks about people like Sarah Palin (and even attack her children), but that’s “free speech”. Comedians impersonate presidents all the time, and that’s considered “free speech”. Mr. Misunas allows as how Tuffy Gessling, the rodeo clown, exercised his right to freedom of speech, but then adds that Gessling “lacked any common sense” when he crafted a skit while having a friend wear a Barack Obama mask at the Missouri State Fair. Does that mean that picketing funerals, holding anti-American rallies, and calling others obscene names on television exhibits “common sense”? It’s a pretty sorry state of affairs when anyone who dares to make a joke about this particular president is in danger of losing his job. Maybe if someone could get those people in this administration who are trampling the rest of the Bill of Rights to make jokes about the president instead of invoking their 5th Amendment rights, we could get them fired as well.   
Sharon McGinness