Moments ago e-mail was sent to Tulsa City Councilors and the Mayor notifying them that I will protest the parade formerly known as the “Christmas Parade” and now named the “Holiday Parade of Lights.” The planned event will forbid egress from my residence. This happens frequently and, in most cases, endured without complaint. However, I am not so motivated in behalf of a fundamentalist secular worship to political correctness parade that fails to acknowledge the reason for the season.
Cheyenne is a one way street downtown providing the only vehicle access and egress to my loft residence between 2nd and 3rd Streets. Cheyenne at Third Street is blocked periodically without any consideration or notice by officials. Setting aside the arrogance of Tulsa’s special event planners, I endure running and bicycle races, parades for many purposes that may or may not agree with my politics, religion, or philosophy of life. However, a parade that organizers feel must be named to avoid offending anyone is offensive to me – a taxpaying citizen of the neighborhood.
If it was still the Christmas Parade, it would obviously be worthy of a public permit just as it would be if it was a “Hanukah Parade” or “Gay Pride Parade” or a “Heterosexual Pride Parade” or a “Muslims Against Violence and Terrorism Parade” or any one of a dozen other reasons for people to gather to celebrate common history, community or current civilization. I have no complaint with the Martin Luther King Parade, the Route 66 Marathon, or any one of hundreds of special events from country music to rap at the new BOK Center (which apparently believes no one ever travels west on Third Street).
What is a “Holiday Parade of Lights?” Is it simply a celebration of electric power consumption? That is not a reason for a parade causing inconvenience to anyone. Public Service Company or their parent company American Electric Power can simply purchase advertising on Tulsa Today, KRMG or any one of dozens of other local media to carry that message.
The daily newspaper quotes attorney Joey Senate of Oklahoma State University and Freedom of Information Oklahoma Inc. saying the City Council would have not legal basis to turn down this special event application. Yes, they do. It is not planned for a reasonable time, place and manner for people living in the area if the parade promotes nothing more than crass commercialism and extravagant power consumption.
Apparently and boringly the daily newspaper is trying to use U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe’s refusal to participate until the name of the parade is changed back to the “Christmas Parade” as a reason to insult him and other Christians within the community. Ho hum; heard that before.
Apparently the parade’s grand marshal, Tulsa native and actress Heather Langenkamp-Anderson, wrote a letter to Sen. Inhofe encouraging him to continue participating in the event. This from an actress best known for her work on “Nightmare on Elm Street” is somewhat ironic should some wonder why she didn’t marshal a Halloween Parade with all that experience in fake blood, gore, startling surprise, and devil worship.
According to published reports, Langenkamp-Anderson wrote, “If we can’t share our values of sharing at this time of year, when can we?”
What values are those; lighting or consumption? If we are celebrating all holidays, let’s have this parade in April when the weather is a bit warmer.
City Councilors (no surprise here) are divided and confused on the issue. Councilor Maria Barnes supports parades and festivals like the La Raza event held recently in another part of her district. She is responsible for downtown, but seems to be more interested in helping her friends acquire city property along Cherry Street than anything positive for Downtown. Barnes said, “We can’t hold this up because it doesn’t have the word ‘Christmas’ in it. That wouldn’t be right.”
Ok then fine, no one cares about the name, but define what the purpose of the parade is in simple clear terms. Is it the “non-religious children’s pretty parade” or the “Atheists Winter Parade” or what? If it is not a Christmas Parade, remove Santa.
The issue troubled the Tulsa City Council so much that they delayed a vote on the application past their regular weekly meeting to a special council meeting at 9:30 AM next Tuesday. I plan to attend that meeting to voice my concerns and request denial of this permit. You are welcome to join me, but regardless, I will stand against this parade as currently named and promoted. I will also welcome calls from you this Saturday from 4 pm to 6 pm on The David Arnett Show on AM 740 and FM 102.3 news talk KRMG.
Regardless, I have never been greatly restrained by the tyranny of political correctness and I dang sure don’t want to be inconvenienced in my own home by a parade for the same purpose. I am a resident citizen of this Tulsa neighborhood and, regardless of politics or politicians, I object to a parade without a clearly stated purpose.