Enjoying Winter Carnival together

To the editor:

At the heart of a carnival, by most definitions, lies the beautiful tapestry of small town/big town unity woven through vibrant costumes, infectious music and joyous dance. Yet, regrettably, some stray from this spirit, using rhetoric and symbols that are associated with violence and hatred.

Let’s be clear: The roar of a monster truck at a carnival is far from the sound of intolerance, but the visual takeaway is jarring. Tragically, recent events in Kansas City remind us that real violence lurks at festivities, far removed from harmless fan rivalries or small-town feelings that have been shamed, or ashamed of something. #SoAnyway.

Consider this: If a troupe of South Asian Historical Dancers were to wave a swastika flag amidst the carnival’s parade route, how many would pause to remember its ancient connotations of good fortune? #BigEyeEmojiFace. #History. #4000BC.

Do we truly need any/some/a few reminders of the world’s horrors during our winter’s celebration? Symbols of violence do not materialize with a mere sign held aloft. I am acutely/intensely/compassionately aware of the turmoil in the world. It weighs on my heart and my very being like Atlas holding up the world. I know few people who do not feel the pain from seeing the many horrendous images coming from ___ (pick one).

If political discourse is what you are looking for, there are more fitting platforms than a parade designed for families and people of all ages who may be looking for a bit of a break from the tragedy.

We also do not need the sight of obsolete flags (now completely connected with hate groups) to recognize the ongoing debates over symbols, meanings and cultural sensitivities. Didn’t an Indian snowshoer enlighten us on these matters a few carnivals ago? #Culture. #SoAnyway.

Thankfully, our carnival has mostly remained free from the political fervor that plagues other arenas of life. Here, we lay down our animosities/finger pointing and cheer aloud the whimsy of purple wigs and vampire teeth, celebrating each other’s uniqueness, or at least lack of intense political bullying.

For me (obviously), Saranac Lake has a healing energy that transcends the world’s tensions/angst. Yes, there are conflicts and crises aplenty, but amidst the rustic charm of this town, there’s a passionate resilience born from enduring winters long before solar panels and Teslas adorned our streets, which are also wonderful to see. #RoomForEveryone. #Together.

I call Saranac Lake home not for its natural beauty but for the warmth and resilience of its people. This place, steeped in history and tradition, has a way (had a way?) of embracing all who come seeking refuge. You won’t find a sign proclaiming this; it’s simply woven into the fabric of our community.

Then again, perhaps this town isn’t for everyone, but for those who can embrace it and its huge scale of people, not just the ones you want (whoever you are), let’s savor the magic together! #GoodSign. #EnjoyItTogether! #SavorTheMagic.

Jason Smith

The one who plays a lot of dominoes

Saranac Lake


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