Five years ago, a group calling itself Oppose Wal-Mart was told it couldn’t have an entry in the Colony Days Parade. The grassroots organization was told its parade entry didn’t fit in with the spirit of the community celebration.
I opined in this column in 2006 that the Colony Days Committee was out of line in not allowing the Oppose Wal-Mart organization to have an entry in the parade. The committee said it didn’t want its community celebration “used as a political platform.”
The Colony Days Parade organizers did permit the group to have an information booth in the Sunken Gardens so it could get its message out.
I have a number of friends on both sides of that decision. Some of them explained to me that the Oppose Wal-Mart group was a small group of folks trying to get their message out that allowing a Walmart here would harm the community.
I missed this year’s Colony Days Parade because of a family wedding that took me out of town. Reading about parade winners when I got back, I was surprised to discover that the Atascadero Tea Party had an entry in the parade and even won an award from the judges.
I would have thought that the Tea Party folks would have been equally rejected from having an entry in the parade because of the committee’s not wanting the celebration “used as a political platform.”
The anti-Walmart group believes that the giant store would not be good for Atascadero for a number of reasons and wanted to get its message out to as many as possible.
The local Tea Party group wants us to believe America is being dragged into a socialist society and hates President Barack Obama and all those liberals back there in Washington, D.C., who they believe are taking away one liberty after another.
I wrote previously that I recognized that the Colony Days Committee had the right to make up its rules about who can be in the parade. What angers me is the double standard here. Evidently the Colony Days Committee can pick and choose which kinds of ideas it thinks are “safe” for the parade and which are not.I would have liked to see a parade entry from the Occupy Wall Street movement in this year’s celebration, but something tells me its parade application would be soundly rejected. I would have liked to march with them.
Somehow the Tea Party members see themselves as patriots who stand for good American values while believing that the Occupy Wall Street folks are just a bunch of malcontents and druggies.
Both groups are free to believe what they want.
Sadly it appears that only one group can get its entry in Atascadero’s Colony Days Parade.
Lon Allan has lived in Atascadero for nearly four decades. His column appears here every week. He can be reached at 466-8529 or firstname.lastname@example.org.