(4/24/08) Suppose I want to hold a parade downtown celebrating the glory of the 2004 Red Sox championship season. I want to have themed floats and children wearing player jerseys and Jason Varitek as my Grand Marshal. So I get my permit, hold my parade, and it’s a big success.
The next year, I want to do it again. This time, people start talking about the 2007 Red Sox, and how they won a championship too, so a celebration of that team should be included. So I say, “No, no, I love the 2007 team too, but my parade isn’t about various championships – it’s just about the 2004 team.”
Then other people start talking about the 1986 Red Sox, and how they almost won, and it shouldn’t just be about winning anyway, so they want that to be included too. So I say, “No, no – my parade isn’t about great Red Sox seasons or the team in general, it’s just about the 2004 team.”
Then the Yankees fans start talking about how many transplanted New Yorkers there are in town, and what would the Red Sox be without the Yankees anyway, so they want to include a celebration of the Yankees in the parade too, and this time they want A-Rod to be Grand Marshal. So I say, “WHAT?!? Are you kidding me? This is a 2004 Red Sox parade! I don’t want to celebrate the Yankees and I sure as heck won’t have A-Rod as Grand Marshal. This is ridiculous.”
Then Milwaukee Brewers fans start talking about how the parade is a celebration of baseball and they want to be included too, along with special tributes to all the other teams. So I say, “No – you don’t understand, this parade isn’t about celebrating baseball in general, this is just about celebrating the 2004 Red Sox.”
The Town Manager tells me he is getting a lot of pressure from all these other fans. They are putting the squeeze on him – especially those Yankees fans. He is insisting that I include them, but I don’t want to – it would turn my parade into a different parade all together. He says that I am attempting to stifle free speech and that I can’t have a parade about baseball without including all baseball perspectives. So I say, “Can’t these folks have their own parades? Why can’t we have different parades with different kinds of baseball themes?”
He says that part of the problem is that my parade is held on the anniversary of Babe Ruth’s birth, and that that is a special day for baseball fans, so they all should get to participate. “Come on now,” I say, “if it’s so special to them, why hadn’t they had a parade on that day before? And there are lots of other special baseball anniversary days they could commemorate.”
Nope, he says. These folks are very persistent. Either they get to be in your parade, or the Town will take the parade over and turn it into a celebration of all things baseball. And maybe soccer. And bowling. And probably any other competitive endeavor that wishes to participate.
And this is different from the Fourth of July Parade controversy how?
-- Stephanie O’Keeffe