LETTER: Port Angeles council’s profanity ban an ultimately bad idea

The new rule will be impractial both legally and in practice.

This time, Port Angeles City Council members have decided that they need a rule to prohibit themselves from using profanity, the governmental equivalent of the swear word jar some families maintain.

In what would appear to be an act of overt penance, this ridiculous rule was proposed by Councilwoman Cherie Kidd, whose own intemperate behavior during a moderately raucous [Feb. 2] City Council meeting led to accusations, investigations and a lot of snickering among the general populace.

As our council is about to find out, this rule is unworkable both legally and practically.

While it is unclear whether they sought legal counsel before they passed it, any semi-conscious and half-sober attorney would have told them that it was a very bad idea.

This is exactly the sort of knee-jerk reactionary legislating that leads to horrible laws that we all regret eventually.

Somewhere, our government bodies have lost the will to engage in a truly deliberative process in which all sides are heard with respect and patience, even those with which many might disagree.

Sure, our City Council has more important business than censoring itself.

After all, avoiding profanity is simple: Just don’t say it.

But that might mean asking a politician to keep her mouth shut.

Maybe not so simple after all.

John F. Hayden,

Port Angeles

Hayden is a Port Angeles attorney.

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