From: Paul Ogren
I went to see my banker, Lindsey, the other day, for some help I needed. And in that pleasant exchange, asked about each others’ families, summer plans, happy events on the horizon. As we talked, I asked about what kind of response she was having to the letter in the Post from the weekend edition. She said that the letter didn’t explain much, but then she shared with me the disappointment she felt as a mother trying to explain to her young son, why they and the mayor were no longer going to be able to ride in the wagon together in the parade — primarily out of concern for the horses and innocent bystanders. She and the mayor feared that protesters were going to surround them during the parade with megaphones and shout at them and the crowd because they believe Wells Fargo is bad for Winona. It’s a tough spot to be in as a mother and a business person. It’s hard to believe a business that provides for your family as a single mother, your first opportunity to own a home, donates to many local nonprofits, provides financial services to many individuals and businesses in our town, and good jobs for other folks employed at the bank — would come under attack by well-meaning citizens who are using the right to free speech as a means to bully parade participants.
I think we can honor one another and share our point of view. I think its too bad that the city of Winona would capitulate in these circumstances instead of standing up to this kind of heavy-handed threat to a peaceful, family-oriented, community parade. I understand how the demonstrators feel. They believe strongly that they are in the right. And they have a right to demonstrate in a law-abiding way — no question.
Now, I personally think the federal government is the largest single polluter of the environment and waster of resources, pinches off the backs of the poor world over, and is responsible for more corruption and atrocities than Wells Fargo could even approach in the smallest degree, but if I tried to protest the federal government the way this group threatened the Wells Fargo horse-drawn wagon in the Steamboat Days Parade, I would be treated as a terrorist.
There is an honorable way to protest, to share your opinion, to let the voice of freedom be heard. If your point of view has merit, it will prevail. You may not get the immediate gratification of poking your finger in the eye of the local banker; however, you will get the satisfaction of being a tolerant and admirable leader(s) in our community.