The 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade in Portland, OR, was cancelled because of threats the organizers received to disrupt the parade with protests over the participation of the Multnomah County Republican Party. An anonymous email (anonymous because those threatening protest are cowards) was received by organizers of the ten-year old annual event that protesters were prepared to cause serious disruption to the parade unless the local chapter of the Republican Party was kicked out. The organizers said they were informed by the police that additional security could not be provided. The police, however, later said that they were prepared to provide whatever security was necessary to keep the parade safe for everyone. In any case, feeling that the event would be taken over by violence, and unwilling to concede to the demand that the Republicans be kicked out, the entire parade was cancelled.
This is disturbing, to say the least. We’ve now reached a point where not only free speech, but free association is threatened with violence. I can’t imagine that many Democrats or others on the left would condone this kind of behavior. These types of threats have a way of backfiring. There’s no way of knowing who made the threat. Organizers of the parade said it was “multiple groups.” But, the fact that they justified their threat to disrupt with protests what the police describe as a “family friendly event” in the name of standing up for “POC [People of Color], immigrants and the LGBT community” does not bode well for raising empathy for “POC, immigrants and the LGBT community.” Neither does it bode well for their convincing the general public that Republicans are synonymous with fascists, given that the tactics they employ are pretty much out of the fascist pocketbook of action guidelines. There are lots of people in Portland who are angry that the parade was cancelled. Raining on somebody’s parade is not how to recruit him or her to your cause. It’s as likely, or more likely, to inspire them to oppose you and whatever cause you’re advocating, if only to spite you.
Hopefully, though I’ve seen no movement in this direction so far, advocates for “POC, immigrants and the LGBT community” will call out these cowards and distance themselves from them and their tactics. Republicans, even in Portland, OR, aren’t likely to fold up their tent and go away anytime soon. So, those who oppose the Republican agenda need to either figure out how to live with Republicans in their midst, or Portland is going to become a very un-fun place to live.
Hopefully, too, national leaders of both Republican and Democratic persuasion will soundly condemn these thugs and unite on the common ground of free speech, free association, and civility.
Finally, I hope the local police, and maybe even the FBI, are on the trail for these people. It needs to be made clear that no one has the right to disturb the peace with threats of violence against an entire community because they don’t like somebody’s politics, or religion, or race, or lifestyle, or whatever. This cannot be allowed to stand.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.