Photograph of Chris Poh by Bill Galbo
upon the tone at recent town hall meetings, it
appears that some rather spirited Americans are experiencing the summer
of their discontent. This may one of those rare times when our elected
officials wished that they would have chosen to forego recess in favor
of the tedium of late night legislative sessions in Washington.
I know that I speak for the entire staff of American Public House
Review when I say that we fully support the right of all of our
citizens to assemble in order to express their concerns and opinions;
but that we strongly disagree with the apparent lack of decorum and the
disruptive tactics that are being implemented by certain individuals
and groups under the protection of free speech. Hooliganism may be
acceptable at an English soccer match, but it degrades and dishonors
American democracy. When we award undue credence to the clamor and
clatter we greatly diminish the ability of those voices of reason, on
either side of an issue, to be rightfully heard.
During the protests of 60s and 70s it was common to hear the phrase
“America, love it or leave it” being uttered by anyone that felt that
those on the street were ill-mannered or in abuse of their First
Amendment rights. I’m not about to advocate for the banishment of any
American to Canada, especially since their public health care system
probably doesn’t cover treatment for malice and malcontentedness.
No, what I’m suggesting is that we adopt the house policy at McSorley’s
Old Ale House in Manhattan. Enshrined behind the bar in that beloved
New York institution are the words “Be good or be gone.” Those words
serve as a kindly reminder to all that enter that they have the right
to gather, kick up their heels a bit, and to express their opinion on
any matter, as long as they are well behaved and respectful of the
rights of those on either side of the bar.
We at American Public House Review raise our glasses to all those who
honor and exercise our democratic freedoms with dignity and goodwill
toward their fellow citizens.