Letters to the editor
To the editor,
I have been a part of the American Falls Day Parade for all but one of the years that we have lived here, and I am always impressed with the way that our community pulls together in a scene that usually involves some chaos and confusion. Even the latest and most undecorated displays are encouraged by fellow parade participants to shimmy in where they can. A great amount of cooperation is required to assemble a successful parade in a small space, and to our community’s credit, we pull it off every year with few scuffles.
This year, there was a notable and unfortunate exception, and I feel strongly that the American Falls Chamber of Commerce owes U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo an apology. Anyone with a lick of common sense likely recognizes that a visiting U.S. Senator deserves a place of honor in any parade.
The chamber was notified in advance that Sen. Crapo would be visiting our celebrations and had every chance to prepare for his arrival. However, when Sen. Crapo and his team arrived, Chamber Chairman of the Board Kurtis Workman informed him that he would be riding at the tail end of the parade (likely following the trail of horse poop, if Workman had his way), and physically placed himself in front of Sen. Crapo’s truck so that those of us with more common sense would be unable to encourage him to shimmy in as others were doing.
Many senators would have reacted to a scenario like this by making demands or going on a power trip. Sen. Crapo, to his credit, did not. He was extremely gracious about the situation, expressing to other parade participants that it was fine, and that he didn’t want to cause any trouble. The power trip instead was displayed by Workman, who spent ten minutes arguing with us when we requested that Sen. Crapo be allowed to pull in line in front of our vehicle, a request which all of the participants surrounding us were in agreement with. My husband, Ryan Petersen, pointed out how poorly Workman’s actions would reflect on our community. Workman’s haughty response was, “You don’t always get to have what you want.”
Indeed, we don’t. We had nothing personally to gain in this argument. What we wanted was for American Falls, the chamber of commerce, and even both local parties to be represented as what we are: a community that rises above petty party politics and personal vendettas. Instead, I am certain that Sen. Crapo drove away from A.F. Day with a very different view. If his memory is of the posterior region of horses, that might be better than the appreciation we showed him. We all look bad.
The chamber of commerce, which continuously does wonderful things for our community and organized what I consider to be one of the best A.F. Days yet, deserves better than to be represented this way. Both local parties, whose officials come across the aisle in ways rarely seen in politics anymore, were poorly represented. And our community, full of people who care about each other and can be polite even when they don’t, were poorly represented. It is disappointing all around. We all deserve better than this. Workman’s power trip served none of us.
I continue to trust, though, in the collective common sense of the members of the American Falls Chamber of Commerce. I trust that they will do the right thing to ensure that such an unfortunate incident doesn’t occur again. I would hope, also, that they send Sen. Crapo an official apology from our community, as he certainly deserves one.
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