Posted by: thescoundrel | January 28, 2009

Pretentious Parade Protocol Prevails

When dealing with protocol there are times you follow the book to the letter, ignore minor transgressions and even sometimes you just use the book to prop up the desk in the corner. In my opinion the case of John Coleman, the drum major that was suspended for breaking protocol when he waved at Pope Obama while marching in the inaugural parade, Coleman’s actions were much to do about nothing. And nothing is exactly what should have happened to the man for waving at the new President. Heck I do not even like the idea of Obama becoming POTUS and had I been in Coleman’s situation, I probably would have done the same thing. The United States of America had just sworn in a new President and is always the case; it was a momentous occasion for many people. It is like celebrating the New Year. Coleman’s actions were not a reason for some By-the-Book Blowhard to get his or her shorts all twisted-up in his or her vitals – over some minor indiscretion because Coleman got overly excited. It is not like Mr. Coleman dropped trousers and mooned the President. Let the guy enjoy what could have been a once in a lifetime chance to communicate directly with a President. Coleman was proud and for a moment lost his composure enough to break the pompous appearance expected of parade members. In other words he was a human organism reacting normally during a special situation. As the worst punishment, he “maybe” deserved a very short backroom naughty-boy chat with raised eyebrows and an eye-rolls followed by a friendly joke accompanied and then ice-cold Mt. Dews and Banana flavored MoonPies for everyone – to break any possible tension. Yee haw!



  1. Pomposity wins and a slight indiscretion by a man in good standing loses. This could have been handled in a much better way by the powers that be over this man. They are the ones who must answer to the public for their over reaction. Shame on the overseers of this poor man. He deserves an a public apology and Obama should make a statement at the least in support of the man.

  2. Oh so true. Kind of gives one the feel we’re in a time warp, headed to the early 40’s, and Germany or Russia. Any breach of applause or decorum for Hitler or Stalin were sins, too. I wonder, are we headed that way? Anyway, those Protocol folks would have a king sized problem with my move to get the butt sniff recognized as the universal greeting jesture to replace the hand shake. One dog’s opinion- Visit me at

  3. Unbelievable that even a single citizen found cause to complain about John’s little wave. Ugh! the righteousness in this country amazes me!

  4. I agree with your assestment of this situation except I wonder why does President Obama have to be referred to as “Pope”? As if he was responsible for the fallout of the Drum Majors actions. This seems to be a growing theme and some form of resentment in regards to the level of respect that President Obama gets which has not been seen with past Presidents. I can’t help but wonder why that is? Isn’t the President supposed to be respected? Yet some in the media sarcasticly try to make mochary of this respect.

  5. As a firefighter I am disturbed by the fact the drum major was suspended. He is a class act. Sounds like someone on the organization had to try a power play
    because this guy is getting all the attention. Now the band has taken what was a great opportunity for a wonderful organization into an event of shame for firefighters.

  6. I agree—overkill!

    Can’t agree with you about the Mt. Dew and MoonPies—the last thing the excitable need is a massive infusion of sugar! 😀

  7. If this is the right-wing blog that I think it is, you should all know what military protocol is. Were any of you in the military? To defend this guy when it was explicitly stated to him that military protocol applied to the parade is to insult those in the military who take pride in how they perform their duties in this area. This looks like just another worthless “Bash Obama” blog.

  8. It looked as if John was ‘ saluting ‘ the Prez, who, as John stated, made eye contact & waved at him. It was only appropriate for John to acknowledge that action with a ‘ salute ‘ to him. If he had ignored Obama, & did nothing, then what would have been said?

  9. Best thing is to just let this story die …

  10. Tim you are right, John the Fireman needs to be courtmartialed and sent to Gitmo until it closes. (gimme a break)

    This is not about defending John, it is about those pompous fools pulling out their shorts after a Huggie. Besides, that was not a wave, it looked like a salute.

    Some of you Yanks need to lighten up a bit.

  11. I think if the drum major gets suspended for a nod, the Superior Court Judge who so incompetently screwed up the oath should be fired.

  12. LMAO, Ed thank you very much!!!!

  13. You Go, Ed! Love it!

  14. Wearing flip-flops to a job interview isn’t a crime, either.

  15. I hope Coleman finds something infinitely more satisfying to do with his spare time, marching bands are corny, pompous, garish affairs meant to mezmerise small children and stiff, atherosclerotic, anal-retentive Republicans.

  16. What if I decided to screw decorum, jump the barricade and bust a harmless dance move for my Messiah, The Obama?


    If the noble prole masses – the salt of the earth, they – meekly followed Bushitler’s Law, why couldn’t Coleman?

  17. I’m confused. As a lay person I believe I am correct that the military (all branches) do salute the President of the USA (something about Commander in Chief). So…

    “We had gone over and over time and again with everyone in the band that this was a military parade,” Engle told the newspaper. “Protocol and proper decorum had to be followed at all times. Unfortunately, John chose to ignore that.”

    The office of the President was being acknowledged – John wasn’t waving to Uncle Joe and Aunt Minnie.

  18. Marching bands are corny, pompous, garish affairs meant to mezmerise small children and stiff, atherosclerotic, anal-retentive Republicans.

    Yeah, Obama wouldve boycotted the whole shebang and donated teh money wating on barrio orphpans but Bushitler forced him.
    Why did the Messiah and his peeps not break with decorum, call off the inauguration pomp and instead offer free hot meals at the homeless shelters?

    Ah yes. Bushitler.

  19. Think, people!

    Its racism, plain and simple. If you a whitey likin a brutha, the Secret Society will find you and have you fired.


    They reviewed tapes of the parade and BOOM! this week 50,000 white jobs were “lost” due to “recession”!!!

  20. In the grand scheme of things you are right, much ado about nothing, but also methinks you miss the point.
    They beat out a million other bands for the honor of going, they went into rehearsal for an internationally viewed world event. They agreed in rehearsal on how they would present themselves. Then when they got onto the world stage one of them, the most prominent one of them, reverts to kindergarten play performance and waves to his parents…the world watched the young country act like a kid, yet again, so yes little things matter.
    So being a director I just shook my head when I saw him do it. If I was his director I would do what I always do when an actor decides that the show is all about him. I buy a nice copy of Hamlet, I yellow highlight and bookmark Hamlet’s “advice to the players”, I gift wrap it and present it as a present “in memory of your last performance” and never have to deal with the problem again…
    Monarchy or no, it was a kindergarten performance and it reflected on his team. He should have taken his punishment.

  21. The most vastest right-wing conspiracy lives on!

    Coleman is the fall guy, the martyr. Support, uh, PETA, fight global warming, uh, yay! Grateful Dead, close Gitmo, give Sean Penn his Oscar.

  22. In a Parade for the President of the United States, when it passes the President it is a “pass in review”. To wave or wink at the President in this situation is disrespectful to the office. Coleman might as well have just stopped and shouted “whats up brutha”. The Cleveland Firefighters Memorial Pipes & Drums take pride in their professionalism and discipline. What Coleman did was not only disrespectful to the new President, but was disrespectful to the other members of the band who, being in the same once in a life time situation, were able to maintain the discipline and integrity of the situation. Coleman should not have been suspended, he should have been fired for being disrespectful to the President and for bringing discredit upon the unit.

  23. Praise the Messiah and his supporters. Cuz –
    in the emerging New Free World Order every member of every band will finally be allowed to do whatever they want. Clothes, instruments, song choices, key, show up or not, etc.

    Athletes will forthwith follow their own rules as they see fit. If a spectator/fan wants to play with the Lakers for a few minutes, we will let ’em! If Terrell Owens wants to hold a post-TD gangsta parade in the endzone for an hour, let him! If fans want to flash him, okay! If a girl wants sex with TO there and then, lets watch! If a fan likes to wave a gun at the opposing team and fans, right on!

  24. I didn’t see the actual shot, during the parade, of John’s heinous crime. Was there one or is this another media storm picking up the gauntlet of those who cast the first stone? And I agree with Gail.

  25. I take it Obama and his noble masses will staunchly support the Colemans of this world and boycott all and any parades that are but painful reminders of German soldiers in lockstep? Feed Coleman, find him a new job, and stuff.

    Above all, Goodbye Drumline! (Hey, I’m sick of the repeats of that film on TV.)

  26. Surely yall remember “Drumline” just as you remember MLK?

    “A fish-out-of-water comedy about a talented street drummer from Harlem who enrolls in a Southern university, expecting to lead its marching band’s drumline to victory. He initially flounders in his new world, before realizing that it takes more than talent to reach the top.

    The day of the big National competition arrives. Devon has committed an infraction that prevents him from starting.”

  27. Its very interesting that we can be so rational about the seeming gaff of one person in a parade yet we allow greater gaffs that threaten to destroy the very nation that we love so much and are so patriotic about.

    This reminds me of the passage of scripture in the bible that speaks about gnashing at a fly but swallowing a camel. Has our tolerance for hypocrisy grown so much that matters like this call for such punishment went worst things that have been done in our name and is a fête accomplish?

    The fact is we need to get a life, which even as this guy is being made to feel like the back end of a horse is being threatened by far more.

  28. The pedestrian complains about the jaywalking ticket because there are cyclists out there running red lights, who in turn complain about cars cutting them off illlegally, who gripe about bikers being in the way, and the unfairness of speeding tickets when there are drunk drivers out there raping orphaned children. Damn cops, eh. Its all their fault.

    The masses – in this case his bandmates – didn’t have a problem following “rules” they’d agreed to obey and practiced exhaustively. This one guy can’t keep his hands out of his crotch at the crucial point, but instead of being called the amateur he obviously is, he’s deemed a noble paradigm of freedom by his fellow downtrodden masses.

  29. I keep reading the word “salute” in defence of Colemans actions. What country is Coleman from? Here in the United States a “salute” is performed by touching the right side of one’s hat brim (or right edge of the right eyebrow) with the tip of the middle finger of the right hand, fingers closed, thumb in, hand straight and tilted slightly forward, with the elbow at a 45 degree angle. Coleman was performing none of those. If that was a “salute”, then what he did was even more disrespectful!
    Further, Gail, there are only 5 branches of the US Military, Army, Navy, AirForce, Marine Corps, Coast Guard. I have never seen the Cleveland Fire Department on a DOD roster. And Ed, the Judge was the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, not a Superior Court Judge.
    The bottom line here is simple. The unit agreed to a protocol. Coleman opted to violated that protocol and thus the agreement. I can partially agree with Kathleen M. in that his actions were Kindergarten like.
    On a lighter note: I find it funny how people have exhalted President Obama to a status equal to that of a Greek God. The man has been in office for just over a week, has no political record to speak of, and yet people are standing in line to “drink the kool-aid”. Blind faith is a dangerous thing people.

  30. *exalted

  31. Hey Joe,
    Now that you’ve taught everyone a lesson about the 5 branches of the military and that the idiot who messed up the oath was US Supreme Court Justice, could you humor us about a tasty George W. balls taste? I mean since were drinking the Kool-aid now and we find it refreshing. We’d like to know why you would suck on those salty neo-con nuts.
    Shut up and deal. We’ve had to endure 8 years of satanic leadership and were ready for a church not laden with evil and conspiracy.

  32. This is too funny,

    I don’t know how many of you have actually been in marching bands or similar outfits and have had to perform in parades, but all this talk of “protocol” by Kathleen M. and stuff is just taking this waaaayyyyy to seriously. This reeks of the worst kind of, how can I make this as childlike as possible, “band-nerdishness” that anyone who has ever been in a marching band can attest to.

    Most people who have done this did it in school, college at the latest. After that, the people that stay in music go on to other jobs related to it, but the people who continue to perform in marching bands, drum corps, or the like tend to be (from my personal experience and friends who have done this kind of thing) the kind of people that just take it too seriously, the kind of people this man’s simple gesture would outrage. People who take themselves and the idea of a marching band too seriously.

    Yes, these are patterned on a military band tradition, but THEY ARE NOT PART OF THE MILITARY. They need to get over themselves.

  33. I am very sure that thousands of individuals are lamenting the performance of Mr. Coleman, especially those capable and that also wanted to be filling his shoes. I am sure that Mr. Coleman is embarrassed by his lack of protocol himself. He had the chance of a lifetime to perform in front of a worldwide audience with his best parade etiquette – and screwed the pooch. And those that could have marched in his shoes will be the toughest critics – because they take parading events more serious than those of us who see parades in a different light. That is the way of the world. The more familiar we are with the particulars involved in performing a labor – the more we notice when someone falls from grace during their execution of the event. The World will not end tomorrow because he waved at the President. And yes, as a realist, when I hear someone say that they locked eyes with the President in a moment of personal communication, during such a demanding carnival atmosphere, my Bull-Puckey meter shoots right off the readable scale. The occasion was supposed to be a festive event, especially for those involved. My guess is that considering Obama’s ability to command a crowd, anyone else that had looked his way would have thought that they were having the same exact moment of communication. Mr. Coleman just had the misfortune to temporarily lose his composure, but in a minor way. In my opinion for his misdemeanor, maybe, Mr. Coleman should have received a private, yet friendly admonishment as the worst punishment. And if you are not fond of banana MoonPies then I suggest you try one of the other flavors they offer. I found them in Orange Flavor last year and was very excited about the flavor. And if you are not in to Mt. Dew, have an RC Cola, Pepsicola, Coca Cola or whatever other soda pop trips your trigger. And if ya got a pack of Planters roasted and salted peanuts – there ain’t nothing tastes better than pouring them inside your bottle of Coke or Pepsi, letting them soak for a few minutes and then consuming the creation. It is just short of nirvana. It helps to put the little things like Mr. Coleman’s wave and life in general into perspective!

  34. The United States is a real backward stupid country. Always has been, always will be.

  35. Military parade protocol!. They’re kidding right?. Is the marching band from Hawaii under military protocol; the Native American on horse-back are military too.

    If the band leader knew his protocol he’d know that the branches of the services that marched are under protocol. If he views the tape of the parade he’d see the military representative of each particular branch introducing himself and his spouse to our new President and the First Lady before each applicable branch pays honor to The President.

    Get over it. I bet this band director and the majority of the band didn’t vote for Obama and they didn’t know he was an Obama supporter or at least doesn’t hate President Obama.

    I saw him smile, wave and nod at our new President and I thought it was great.

  36. If the band manager was such an egomaniac and jealous of the attention, why would he not speak out now? Consider that John is the egomaniac and attention seeker. He is the one giving all the interviews after all. Also consider this episode was merely “the straw that broke the camels back, not just the first time rules were ignored. No, I am not a bandmember, nor am I related to him.

  37. Kathleen,

    Being a music teacher myself, I imagine that your tight-kneed self-righteousness gives you great applause at your school. (What would your colleagues and students really say if you eavesdropped…) As for the band manager: military protocol? Get Real! Next, you’ll be saying that the shriners weaving around on their Cushmans should automatically get the maximum benefits from the Veterans’ Administration.

  38. 20 or more guys have the opportunity to VOLUNTARILY play for the pres. All the boss asks is that they look strak and professional while doing so. And they do, except for –

    one single solitary oaf among them, who has a wet dream upon beholding the Messiah, breaks ranks for *personal gain* and is promptly cheered as a hero by the noble masses.

  39. I vote all and any school band members forthwith be allowed to wear and play whatever suits them.

    They may sit wherever they wish, wave to friends and family and sue their cell phones at their discretion.

    The conductor may wink to a colleague they have a crush on and/or salute the principal.

    Anyone who disagrees is a Nazi.

    The Coleman affair will go edown in history as the Woodstock of 2009.

  40. huh,

    sounds to me like you have an issue with your new Commander-in-Chief?

  41. The subject here is Coleman and the proles who worship him.
    I have an issue with the perpetually dim masses who practice blind idolatry (spreading their legs to offer themselves to a political greenhorn based thus far on color and political affiliation alone, and as predictably) rallying behind the non-existent Noble Cause of an unprofessional schmuck they don’t even know beyond a few seconds worth of TV coverage in a lame, rote effort to elevate Coleman’s inability to behave like everyone else into a paradigm of dissent, deep thought and free speech (simply because he happened to wave to “your” guy).

    Why dontcha instead lobby to have Coleman star as “Kung Fu Panda” on Broadway?

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