“Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” That statement is from the First Amendment to the Constitution of our country.

It forbids any lawful restraints on speech, or the press. Our freedom to speak is protected even when the language we use is offensive to someone, when any individual or a group does not like to hear certain words they consider inappropriate or even insulting.

Now, a small group of individuals, aided by one or two organizations, are badgering Skowhegan town officials and SAD 54 school board members to eliminate the use of “Indians” in their high school logo and their team names.

Your article, “Skowhegan debates Indian mascot,” in the Feb. 22 issue, reported that Michael Alpert, of the Bangor NAACP said in a recent letter that his organization is dedicated to “universal civil rights and to the eradication of all forms of racism” — including the use of the Indian mascot, which he called a symbol of racism.

Yep, I qualify that statement as badgering.

There is no abuse of his civil rights here. Rather, Alpert’s comments trample Skowhegan’s constitutionally given rights of free speech. We can call our teams and mascots anything we wish.

In addition, there is no racism associated with our school logo. We are proud to be called Skowhegan Indians. Our heritage is important to us.

As for the young high school student, Zachary Queenan, good for him in standing up to political correctness.

Surely, we have more important things to discuss. This was all settled on Dec. 15, 1791, with the ratification of the First Amendment.

Richard LaPorte

Skowhegan


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