Our Opinon: Let’s not be silly about clown’s antics

Let the punishment fit the offense.

Some lawmakers are suggesting cutting funds to the Missouri State Fair in response to the antics of a rodeo clown.

Such over-reaction would be silly.

The dust-up began after a rodeo clown at a Missouri State Fair event donned an Obama mask and baited audience members by asking if they wanted to see “Obama run down by a bull.”

With the president’s approval rating at a low point, the anticipated audience reaction was affirmed with applause.

Political humor invariably offends someone, and this particularly antic offended not only Democrats, but some Republicans.

Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder called the stunt “disrespectful.” State Fair officials said it was “inappropriate.” Even the clown’s association, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, said the gimmick “crossed a line.”

Fair enough.

Clowns and comedians work on the edge, and attempts at humor — particularly political humor — may cross the line and be perceived as disrespectful and inappropriate.

Some people have suggested the stunt went beyond political humor and contained racial overtones. We don’t share that perception.

The clown — a member of the rodeo association contracted by the State Fair — has been barred from future performances.

Again, fair enough.

But some House Democrats apparently believe that is not enough. They have suggested the Republican-led chamber form a special committee to investigate the incident and decide if the fair deserves continued tax dollars.

First, the Legislature has an over-abundance of special committees. (At least three committees now are exploring Medicaid expansion).

Second, the State Fair does not deserve to be penalized because of the unanticipated antics of one contracted clown.

Finally, let’s not respond by crossing the line and allowing indignation to ride roughshod over common sense.

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