Editorial: Parades are for coming together, not politics

A group advocating against Dark Money in our political system said they did everything right. They applied for, and were granted, permission to march in Saturday’s Frontier Days Parade. They said they submitted their signage to the Frontier Days parade committee so it could be approved.

They lined up to march when and where they were told. Then, about an hour before the parade was set to begin, they were told they couldn’t march. They were too political.

The decision to keep them out of the parade was correct, but the entire situation should have been handled better.

Parades, especially in small towns, are a chance to bring people together. Politics, by definition, divides. We have enough of that. The last thing any of us should want is that division entering a community event that celebrates our history and culture.

We are overwhelmed with politics, from cable news to talk radio to conversations in diners and the barber shops.

We do not have near enough events that bring us together and remind us what we have in common, such as our love for this city and our country.

The parades are not 100 percent politics-free. Elected officials, some running for election in the coming weeks, and candidates were permitted to march.

The group that was denied a chance to march because of its political message on Dark Money, was not a candidate. They were raising awareness on an issue, one that should trouble all Americans -- the large amount of money in the political system that comes from anonymous sources.

But if you allow in one issue, even one as non-controversial as that one, then you can’t deny others with less popular issues.

It’s unlikely most people want an endless parade of people advocating their hot-button political issues in our Frontier Days Parade. We want to honor our first responders, cheer our Cub and Girl Scouts, tap our toes to the bands and enjoy a beautiful day with our neighbors.

Don’t bring politics into that.

Still, Move to Amend never should have been that close to marching. It appears they followed all the proper procedures, and it’s not right to let a group go through all the preparations and spend money on their signs and float, only to deny them in the last hour.

The political action group’s website is clearly a political and they weren’t trying to slip in quietly. We realize the volunteers who stage the Frontier Days events are very busy, working very long hours for the benefit of all us. Their efforts are appreciated.

But, organizers need to revamp their vetting process so this doesn’t happen again. We don’t want politics in our parade, but we also don’t want someone going through the entire process, following all the rules, only to be denied right before the parade begins.