Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Q Toon: Pride Parade Planning

The usual summer doldrums are running a little late this year, so I've stepped back to take note of a story that was largely overlooked a couple weeks ago.

You may have caught coverage of Justin Trudeau becoming the first sitting Prime Minister of Canada to march in Toronto's LGBT Pride Parade. (Marching while sitting is a feat in and of itself!) You may not have seen reporting about the controversial start of the parade.

Parade organizers had chosen to give the lead spot in the parade to the local Black Lives Matter group, which returned the favor by blocking the parade, setting off multi-colored smoke bombs, and refusing to move until a list of demands was met. Among other things, the BLM activists demanded the removal of police from the parade, both as participants and as protection, which strikes me as particularly boneheaded coming so soon after the massacre at Pulse in Orlando.

Toronto Pride found itself with no alternative but to tell the police to get lost, and only then did BLM allow the parade to get underway. I'm not sure what else BLM managed to accomplish, other than to make any further invitations for BLM to participate unlikely; Toronto Pride has since indicated that they have no intention of fulfilling their promise to ban law enforcement participation in the future.
Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒Jul 13, 2016

I considered drawing about this topic last week, and I'm glad I didn't. Whatever I might have drawn before the events in Baton Rouge, the Twin Cities and Dallas ripped the scab off the nation's race relations would surely have appeared in a different context than it had been drawn in.

As it is, I know I risk offending some readers who expect me to stick to lampooning Republicans and the religious right 24-7.

For the record, I believe that the Black Lives Matter movement has a legitimate grievance against law enforcement due to a pattern of incidents in which black citizens have been killed over petty infractions (busted tail lights, selling cigarettes on the street, etc.) and/or when presenting no danger to the officers or the community. These incidents contrast with episodes of white citizens openly threatening to kill law enforcement agents with a curiously lower rate of "extreme prejudice."

As an internet meme points out, many of the people who argue that the "Black Lives Matter" crowd should settle for being covered by "All Lives Matter" are the same people upset that "Happy Holidays" somehow discriminates against "Merry Christmas."

What I'm criticizing here is the all-or-nothing attitude that pervades socio-political dialectics these days. Calling for improved training of police is one thing, especially if our society continues to idolize gun culture. Equating the police with terrorists, on the other hand, is hardly helpful.

And I tend to agree with the words of John Aravosis: "In a nutshell: Fred Phelps protests Pride parades. Our friends don’t."

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