SAN DIEGO, December 31, 2013 – There is no lack of negative news to be found as a New Year draws close. Turn on one of the 24-hour news stations. Read the stories here on Communities.
There are plenty of ways to get informed and get bummed out.
Once in a while, people simply want to have a good time and leave the cares of the world behind for a little bit. Millions of people across the United States and around the world like to start their year this way by enjoying the Tournament of Roses Parade held in Pasadena, California.
Leave it to a few Debbie Downer demonstrators to use the spotlight provided by the Rose Parade to raise their issues.
This year, several groups say they’ll be at the Rose Parade sounding off. People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) plans to protest SeaWorld’s float entry, called “The Sea of Surprise” which features a design including killer whales. PETA is being joined by former 2009 Rose Parade grand marshal Cloris Leachman, who wrote a letter to Tournament officials asking that the float be barred.
It’s a result of “Blackfish,” a controversial CNN documentary depicting mistreatment of Sea World’s killer whales at its parks.
In 2012, the Occupy movement followed the two-hour parade with one of its own, with several thousand protesters following the same route holding signs and chanting slogans about big bank bailouts and corporate greed. As protestors marched past the crowd, some took photos.
Others yelled “get a job.”
San Diego resident Karen Grube started a “Boycott The Rose Parade” Facebook page expressing her unhappiness about a same sex couple getting married along the parade route aboard the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s float. The National Organization for Marriage joined the protest. President Brian Brownsaid said in a statement children watching Wednesday’s parade “will be exposed to the spectacle of men `marrying’ men with the attendant public hugging and kissing.”
The couple in question, Aubrey Loots and Danny Leclair say they aren’t that concerned about the boycott. Loots and Leclair say they have nothing personal against their critics either, adding they expected some backlash.
The Pasadena Tournament of Roses, which puts on the parade, said in a statement that it is proud to have the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s float, adding it clearly represents this year’s parade theme, “Dreams Come True.”
Tournament officials are old hands at this stuff. Parade protests are hardly original. There were anti-war protests during the Vietnam War era. In 1992, a group of Native Americans protested the choice of Cristobol Colon, a descendent of Christopher Columbus, as the co-grand marshal (with Native American Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell) in honor of the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s journey to the Americas.
Then-Pasadena mayor Rick Cole rode in the parade that same year wearing a T-shirt reading “Tournament of Racists.”
In 2007, human rights activists called for a protest against a float honoring the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games sponsored by southern California based Chinese-American organizations, saying it whitewashed China’s human rights abuses.
Local police say they are prepared for the protestors along with the hundreds of thousands of spectators, with about 1,200 officers from multiple agencies on hand.
Taken to ridiculous extremes, you could find something worth protesting about nearly every entry in the parade.
A float sponsored by a bank? A vile demonstration of corporate greed.
One sponsored by an auto company? The combustion engine is causing global warming.
Military or patriotic themed floats are offensive displays of aggressive American arrogance and jingoism. Worse yet, there is the presence of actual Marines, the U.S. Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band and Color Guard.
Having a Rose Parade queen and princesses is outrageous sexism.
Any animals in the parade are obviously being abused.
And those kids in the marching bands, shouldn’t they be studying instead?
Protestors hurt their causes more than help them by being the turd in the rest of the nation’s punchbowl at our New Year’s Day party in Pasadena. Give us one day to start the year in a good mood, watching the floats, bands, equestrian groups and Rose Parade queen travel down Colorado Boulevard.
There is plenty to get mad about in the country and the world the other 364 days of the year. No one should begrudge anyone the right to protest. But please, if there’s something you don’t like or agree with, find something else to do on January 1. Take a Polar Bear Plunge somewhere and then clean up the beach. Let the rest of us have our harmless fun. You can get back to business like the rest of us again on January 2.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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