To The Editor, Boston Globe

I do hope e-mail is able to achieve greater results than trying to reach your staff reporter John C. Drake. On March 13, in the Metro section, Mr. Drake pointed out the political quandary confronting candidates for mayor, specifically Michael Flaherty and Sam Yoon, if they wereto march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston because of the prohibition on gay groups’ participation.

As a long term supporter of gay rights, or rather citizens’ rights, I was somewhat elated the Globe found such a quandary “newsworthy.” However, I was less than elated when considering that for six years, since the initiation of the illegal war against Iraq, it was not considered noteworthy that any voice for peace in South Boston is likewise prohibited from participation in the parade. This includes such organizations as Code Pink, Mothers and Fathers Speak Out, Veterans for Peace, South Boston Residents for peace, and many others. More perplexing is the fact that such discrimination has been reported on in all newspapers since 2003, and was a the subject of a column by Kevin Cullen in the Globe as late as 2008.

Moreover, the political establishment, and specifically Michael Flaherty and Sam Yoon, have been appealed to over the years, and asked that they not endorse such discrimination by perhaps emulating the practice of Mayor Menino who refuses to march in the parade. Such
appeals have been to no avail, and indeed the parade has over the years become increasingly militaristic and a platform of promotion of the idea that “war” is the only antidote for international distress.

Apparently Mr. Yoon did suffer some consequence upon objection to Mr. Hurley in the past (Mr. Hurley, despite attribution to the Allied War Veterans, unilaterally approves/disapproves participation) by being placed “a bit after the horses that pooped in front of me,” but found the energy to high-step the obstacle. And, Mr. Flaherty dismisses the quandary with the observation “I march in all the parades. You name it, I march in it.” One has to wonder what might take place were the Ku Klux Klan to participate.

Tragically, this parade has become a matter of city-wide concern because of drunkenness of youth in attendance, has cost the City hundreds of thousands of dollars in policing this “private affair,” and has cleverly become the scapegoat for politicians failing their obligation to uphold the public good and the rights of its citizens, while enjoying extensive photo-ops and the fruits of a financial piggybank free of any accountability.

In South Boston, the word “peace” has lost all meaning, and is in fact a dirty word in a community which is a bountiful hunting ground for disenfranchised youth who will serve and die in the armed forces – a fate the children of politicians will not endure.

Were Paul Harvey still alive, I cannot help but wonder if he would not seek out “The Rest of the Story.” This story extends to the very heart of governance in this community and exemplifies the spinelessness of its political establishment. Mr. Yoon and Mr. Flaherty, are no profiles in courage – which certainly begs a recount of the behavior of our Congressional Representative, the most ardent supporter of the war, and the behavior of our State Senator when asked by the mother of a soldier in Iraq to speak at the breakfast in 2007 – she was manhandled from the hall.

Your story operated to provide a cover for politicians who have supported a war in which over 4,000 of our young men and women have died, and countless numbers physically and mentally maimed. .

As a subscriber to both the Globe and New York Times, I am moved to ask why, and for a response.

Thank you.

Anthony F. Flaherty
South Boston Residents for Peace
South Boston, Ma.


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