From the Why Didn’t I Think of That Department.
Per request, a place to comment on our third year in the Leesburg 4th of July Parade. We are very pleased to report that Equality Loudoun won Best Float in the “Most Creative – 15 & over” category. Woot! Thank you, volunteers, and thank you, Leesburg! See more pictures here.
And what was so creative about it, you may ask? Our working theory is that actual reference to the Declaration of Independence is a very creative approach to the holiday these days. As I was just asked by one of our participants, what’s so patriotic about a rolling advertisement for a retail store shouting to the crowd “40% off”?
The presence of commercial promotions as part of the parade could be a legitimate gripe for parade purists. After all, some people object to the political campaigning that has become a fixture at these events – and that, at least, pertains to the democratic process.
Curiously, though, we have a serial complainer who doesn’t care about any of that, probably because she is too fixated on the GLBT community to notice it. In yet another drive-by post attacking Equality Loudoun, local Focus on the Family** writer Barbara Curtis accuses us of being “inappropriate” and (somewhat comically, considering that we are talking about a PARADE) of “calling attention to ourselves.” Among other things, she complains about a sign from two years ago that said “I love my two Daddies,” and claims that we “whined” about being “ill-received” in some letters to the editor in some previous year.
I submitted the following comment correcting some of her misrepresentations, and followed up with a note the next day, pointing out that it’s considered dishonorable to “make remarks about another person by name and then refuse to post a polite reply from that person.” My hope was that, as a member of the local community that we both live in, she would do the right thing. She has let me know, via email, that she has no intention of posting my comment.
You’re talking about Equality Loudoun again? I admit, that’s a little surprising. Actually, we have pictures on our website from the 2005, 2006 and 2007 Leesburg parades, so you can always do fact-checking and not have to rely on your memory.
In 2006 there was a measure on the ballot that our organization was working to defeat, so our float was more focused on protecting our Bill of Rights. I did receive one letter from a gentleman who very politely objected to that kind of political content in the parade. He was also careful to point out that he equally objected to the float in favor of the amendment, as well as to all the candidates for public office who used the parade as a campaign venue – and told them so. I can certainly understand where he’s coming from. The reality, though, like it or not, is that political campaigning in 4th of July parades has become a tradition that’s probably here to stay.
Your memory may also be playing tricks on you regarding the letters you mention. Those are also posted on our website, but none are from myself or Jonathan. They are by some of the straight friends from the churches and other civic groups that walked with Equality Loudoun, and described the positive reaction from the crowd. For example, this one from the Leesburg Today says in part:
“As we proceeded down the streets people were watching and reading. It was so heartening to see people rise to their feet and hear thunderous clapping and shouts of “Yeah, that’s right,” “Way to go,” and “Thank you.”
I miss the old parades with the fire trucks and marching bands. Over the years I’ve watched the parades become more political with cars plastered with candidate’s signs. And it is nothing more than advertising. But, the float like the one Equality Loudoun put together, with its patriotic slogan “With Liberty and Justice for ALL,” was thoughtfully put together in keeping with the theme of the day and hopefully reminded people of the struggle that is still going on in this country for some people.”
It’s ok, I know that things can start to blur and run together over the years. If you’ve never been to the Leesburg parade before, it’s really a classic small town event. The standard for entries is always a patriotic theme, and we’re proud to have won Best Float in the “Most Creative” category this year. The organizers have told me each year how much they value our participation. Please stop by and enjoy the pictures – denuk has it right, but a picture is worth 1000 words, as they say.
**The behavior that Barbara is engaging in – misrepresenting our message, lying about our reception – and then refusing to allow any public dialogue or correction – is standard operating procedure for Focus (more on that later). They, like other instruments of the AGI, rely on their ability to make things up about our community and then insulate their audience from the information that would expose their fabrications.
Unlike Barbara, we don’t need to censor comments on our blog; we don’t have any misrepresentations to hide. We are ready and willing to have this conversation.