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Opinion: Overblown West Parish fiasco reeks of hypocrisy

ALEXANDER OAKS, Editor, Staff Writer

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Last week, drama of a different theater struck Gloucester. On Friday, October 20th, West Parish School hosted a Halloween-themed children’s party, after-hours, for students of the elementary school. However, one particular decoration caught many people’s eyes as being classless and crude: a fake tombstone inscribed with the words: “Don Trump.”

The city was quickly ablaze with people from all walks of life espousing their opinion. Social media in particular saw neighbors and friends warring over whether or not displaying this type of harmful, dangerous, and downright inciteful imagery was appropriate. However, a question seemingly forgotten was, who truly decides what is “appropriate?”

Does the party that embraced Donald J. Trump, the same man who bragged about sexual assault, mocked (and continues to mock) opponents of political thought over their appearance, openly pontificated on Megyn Kelly’s menstrual cycle, compared immigrants of Mexican descent to rapists and criminals, (conveniently ignoring the fact that he is an accused rapist and draft avoider), and has generally turned common courtesy on its head while shunning values of respect and equality, get to lecture others on their level of acceptability?

Why is it that the President of the United States’ can openly denounce a religion of nearly 2 billion people, and then attack a Gold Star family over their impassioned pleas to American voters, without conservatives worrying about their children? Why can Republicans only ever consider children when it is Democrats’ actions they are calling into question?

The same people who voted for Donald Trump, a sexual abuser and all-around despicable figure, can then look their children in the face and explain that sometimes, it’s okay to be a sexual abuser, because if you have a lot of money and scapegoat the right communities at the right time then everything works out in the end! Yet, a decoration at a Halloween party crosses the line?

White conservatives seem to suffer from an inconvenient trend of telling their political opponents when and where they can talk about public policy and human rights. They have attempted to tell oppressed communities of color the exact qualifications that their protests must meet for their qualms to be heard.

When the head of the Gloucester Republican City Committee, Amanda Kesterson, told the Boston Herald that “Unfortunately, in Massachusetts in particular, where Republicans are the minority party and the president is unpopular, I think there is a belief that joking about the president is acceptable — and it’s not,” she seemed to forget that joking about the President is, in fact, acceptable. It is a freedom protected by the Constitution, a document that Republicans seemingly only love when its principles benefit them.

While many of these same people will inevitably point out that similar jokes about former President Barack Obama would have elicited strong reactions from liberals and the Left en masse, they seem to forget that, in the same sense that I am not the same as Michael Jordan because I have played basketball before, Donald Trump is not equal to Barack Obama simply because he has held the same occupation.

Mr. Obama carried himself with a level of professionalism that our current Commander in Chief clearly lacks. Like begets like, and respect begets respect. As a man who acts as if he cares little for the dignity of his position, his followers should not demand unyielding loyalty as they do.

On the other hand, there are those on both sides of the aisle who bemoan the fact that this fiasco unfolded in a public school. Yet, I fail to understand how a tombstone of “Don Trump” is political or even disrespectful. Halloween is a holiday centered around themes of death, monsters, and ghouls. Just like how dressing up as Trump is not disrespectful, (although I also fail to understand why anyone would want to do that), incorporating his name into party decor is not disrespectful either. If his name had been placed on a tombstone during a Valentine’s Day party, this would be a different story.

Donald Trump and his followers have changed the realm of what is acceptable and what is not. Their continued, blatant hypocrisy is what is truly unacceptable. A children’s party decoration pales in comparison to the real-life ramifications that having an unhinged person in public office creates. Please, do not pretend to be horrified by a light-hearted joke when you have embraced much worse in the past.

That’s hypocrisy with a capital H.

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36 Responses to “Opinion: Overblown West Parish fiasco reeks of hypocrisy”

  1. Rachel Vincent on October 27th, 2017 1:58 pm

    I LOVELOVELOVE this!!!! You go Xander!

  2. Samantha Gross on October 27th, 2017 3:54 pm


  3. Hugo B on October 27th, 2017 4:06 pm

    Bravo, Alexander. Eloquent, measured, and right on the money.

    This city’s future looks better than its past.

  4. Len Pal on October 27th, 2017 4:23 pm

    Well said!

  5. Maria kotob on October 27th, 2017 4:26 pm

    YES XANDER! I absolutely love this, u go

  6. kt on October 27th, 2017 5:13 pm

    This is fantastic!

  7. Michelle Derviss on October 27th, 2017 5:43 pm

    The only thing that I disagree with in this ‘spot on’ article is that the rest of the letters in the word HYPOCRISY should be capitalized as well.
    Don’t discrimiate against the rest of the letters. 🙂
    That’s hypocrisy with a capital ‘H’ , as well as capital YPOCRISY.
    … and , well , as a former Bostonian it could be written as ‘wicked HYPOCRISY’ .

  8. Paul T Morrison on October 27th, 2017 6:26 pm

    This is the first thing I have read about this incident that makes complete sense. If this was published last week it would have derailed so much nonsense.

    Better late than never. :-O

  9. Renee Frontiero on October 27th, 2017 8:04 pm

    When and if you ever decide to run for public office, you have my vote. I am proud to be a resident of the same community as you…VERY well spoken!!

  10. Lisa Ryan on October 27th, 2017 8:32 pm

    Simply excellent!

  11. Cynthia Tobey on October 27th, 2017 8:43 pm

    Very proud that someone speaks the truth.

  12. Bethany Sherlock on October 27th, 2017 8:48 pm

    Very well said….. Eloquently put…..

  13. Bob Fernandes on October 28th, 2017 1:36 am

    Haha just Bc you’re still butthurt about the election doesn’t mean Donald Trump will be removed from office. The fact that adults put that tombstone there shows the immaturity and selfishness of the Democrats in pure light. Do we want to show our children the pure hatred this world has to offer by showing that then we in fact put up a tombstone with our presidents name at an ELEMENTARY SCHOOL?! If society continues to argue and talk about stupid stuff like this then we’ll get nowhere. Focus on making a positive impact on the world instead of bashing the president. If everyone actually did something productive instead of bashing him then this stupid stuff would never happen.

  14. JoJo on October 28th, 2017 3:41 pm

    I’ll do that when tRump stops bashing people first , until then he gets what he gives

  15. Joe on October 28th, 2017 10:08 pm

    Ugh. More fake outrage from the right. Enough already. Trump is who we should be outraged about – not a Halloween decoration

  16. Cody Clifford on November 2nd, 2017 10:35 am


  17. Mary Dukes on October 28th, 2017 1:59 am

    Excellent article Xander. So nice to see the truth coming from young people. White conservatives can gasp at how terrible this was, but where was their anger for 8 years when there were constant effigies of Obama swinging from his neck in trees and of Michelle Obama’s picture saying a monkey is missing i Africa. The shoe’s on the other foot and conservatives can’t take it. Yet it’s the democrats that are called snowflakes. Hymm.

  18. Amy Healey on October 28th, 2017 8:04 am

    THIS is what the international media should pick up.
    A true example of Gloucester students!

  19. Cody Clifford on November 2nd, 2017 10:39 am

    Yes, strong students who want to whine about our president whenever they get the chance because they didn’t support him. GOLD STANDARD! 😀

  20. Peg Russell on October 28th, 2017 8:40 am

    Well worded and convincingly argued, ‘A’ for effort and content.
    Great rebuttal

  21. Walt Kolenda on October 28th, 2017 8:40 am

    This is the most well-thought out response to this incident that I’ve heard!
    You should be proud!

  22. Peter Parsons on October 28th, 2017 8:58 am

    Thank you for the Civics Education. So proud and happy that it comes from an appropriate place–our Public School. Shame on all those who would suppress such wisdom in our young people–The Leaders Of Tomorrow, and certainly Today, on this issue! Go Gloucester!

  23. Will Higgins on October 28th, 2017 9:13 am

    Spot on, Alexander. Gloucester needs your voice!

  24. Nancy Waddell on October 28th, 2017 9:22 am

    I don’t know who the writer is, but they should run for office! Excellent writing! Thank you.

  25. Jillian - Amero on October 28th, 2017 9:52 am

    Great Read!
    And another wonderful example of our great public school programs.

  26. Cynthia Francis on October 28th, 2017 1:01 pm

    Knowing that there are thoughtful, articulate young people not afraid to speak to their beliefs gives me hope for the future of our country.

  27. BAZ on October 28th, 2017 1:52 pm

    Can’t wait to read more from you in the future…#newyorker. Amazing insight on a crazy local incident. Nicely done!!!

  28. JoJo on October 28th, 2017 3:42 pm

    Right on!

  29. Damon Cummings on October 28th, 2017 4:33 pm

    This editorial is extremely well written and well thought out. From now on I will check the Gillnetter first for common sense responses to political insanity.

  30. Madison Dempsey on October 28th, 2017 6:44 pm

    Well worded Xander! This is what people need to be reading. Thank you for sheding some light on some things that people have been forgetting.

  31. Nicole D on October 30th, 2017 5:44 pm

    Yes!! Thank you for this well written article! This issue has been completely blown out of proportion – glad to read something that actually makes sense.

  32. Michelle on October 31st, 2017 9:52 am

    I wish the BBC would pick this up. So well said and even more powerful that it is so eloquently spoken by a student!
    Thanks for that great reframing!

  33. b-Bird on October 31st, 2017 11:06 am

    Well thought out response. You’ve def got a future as a writer. Thanks for putting perspective on this nonsense.

  34. Bob on November 8th, 2017 9:30 pm

    Sorry, completely disagree with the article. Although i agree that the whole thing was blown out of proportion and handled incorrectly i believe that the left will continue to berate the right when ever it is convenient for them to do so. The media and Hollywood is completely left and anyone who makes fun of the right and Donald trump is justified under the first amendment as you say, yet why does tim Allen get his comedy show, which is receiving very high ratings, get cancelled? The answer is because he made jokes and poked fun at Obama and the liberals. Anyone like Stephen Colbert can tear apart out current president as much as he wants but god forbid anyone joke about Obama. This media is dominated by the left and all the news and celebrities will be aligned with the left. So what are we teaching the children as you say? We are teaching them that it’s okay to bash the right because the conservatives are always wrong about everything and just take a stance with the left because they will never be wrong. You are basically saying Donald trump is awful and some sexual deviant and kids see that yet you would have elected Hilary Clinton who is an absolute liar and a criminal and can commit fraud. My answer is to get rid of bi partisan politics and just vote for who you think is the best candidate. That will change everything.

  35. Cody Clifford on December 5th, 2017 8:29 am

    (Only posting this now because the article didn’t allow me to post a comment before.)
    It really annoys me that you turned this controversy caused by disrespect from the left and somehow turned it around to attack conservatives who support our president. This should’ve been an article stating how the left was wrong to do so, but at the same time you could teach tolerance for both sides of the political spectrum. But instead, you used this to further divide conservatives and liberals in a time where such a divide is already much too large, just because you yourself don’t like our president. These opinion pieces should seek to unite, not divide.

  36. Caroline Enos on December 6th, 2017 9:10 am

    Hi Cody! Thank you again for your constructive criticism. We appreciate your comments, and can see why you’d be upset when you don’t agree with another’s opinion. As this writer expressed, his opinion is about the political hypocrisy, not the issue itself.

    We are happy to see you have an interest in journalism, as you often share so many ideas with us as to how to write our stories. We encourage every perspective to have a voice through our paper- so we would love to run an opinion piece on the matter- or any other matter you feel passionate about- should you choose to submit one for publication.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

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