Who Doesn’t Love A Parade?

blue ceramic coffe mug holding a foamy cappuchino beside a made of ruled paper and a pencil, all on a wooden tabletop

(full disclaimer, this one gets a little ranty, in a tired way. If you don’t want to read grumpy progressive political snark, then you might want to skip this one. But there are parade pictures.)

Parades don’t appeal to me in concept. Crowds are very much not my thing, and a parade is essentially crowds of people watching a crowd progressing down a street.

Also, while I love hot summer days, I don’t much like standing on hot asphalt in the sun, which is pretty much a description of spectating at a parade. Add in the element of “Independence Day,” and I should be skedaddling off screen like the Nopetopus, not following the siren call of marching bands and drop teams warming up.

(I mean, Performative Patriotism and Nationalist Propaganda are bothboth so very much Not My Thing.)

But ever since we moved into a house a block away from the annual local parade route, I’ve watched at least part of the annual local 4th of July parade. And every year I love it. I guess I just enjoy the unique combination of community and spectacle.

This year I had a good time, and I clapped for my local representatives and whooped and cheered for the drill teams, but…

But I was also truly creeped out by overt, nigh-belligerent displays of Christian Nationalism in both the community watching and the participants.

The gripes section

There’s always a dude handing out cards with “Are You A Good American?” on one side and misattributed Bible gibberish on the back, but this year? Two groups of dudes, walking with church-sponsored Band floats.

I know the psalm says, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord,” but it said nothing about amps cranked up to 11, and it does explicitly mention making this noise in God’s house.

RFK antvaxxer on a bicicle with an american flag riding in the wake of the "end of parade" sweep vehicle
This guy wasn’t officially in the parade, but on the other hand, no one said, “no, you can’t tag after the parade handing out fliers,” either.

And then there were the major violations of the Flag Code in the pursuit of looking More Patriotic Than Thou. Those were everywhere I turned. The most jaw-dropping ensembles were worn by parents of marching Princesses and Guide from the local “Big Waters Federation Tribes.”

(Oh. Yeah. Mount Prospect is home to people who couldn’t bear to stay with the Adventure Guides when the YMCA shed the racist trappings of their youth group organization. They founded their own organization & march every year. But I digress)

two dudes in US flag hats and flag vests and flag parachute pants, holding red-white-aand-blue double-dutch jump ropes
This year they took the phrase “wrapped in the flag” really literally.

And then there were the multiple clusters of MAGA-hatted, Trump-flag wearing folks crowded under red canopies and Chicago Bears tents, who spent a lot of their time watching to see if anyone was watching them.

I didn’t take pictures of them. The word fan is shortened from fanatic, and fanatics are dangerous. Their posturing reminded me vividly of the various rutting deer in the Planet Earth series Spouseman & I have been watching. Lots of pawing, stamping, and looking for any excuse to fight.

There was a distinctly belligerent vibe lurking under all the bright colors and toothy smiles at this year’s parade, and it left the same kind of chilling impression as seeing the shape of a shark within a breaking wave.


So. Anyway. Thinking about next year.

So I’m itching to find five or six or ten friends willing to march with me in next year’s parade in cosplay of some kind. We’ll need a reason to march, obviously, but surely I can come up with some organization to support or advertise for in the next six months or so.

Maybe a food pantry. Or a shelter organization. Or a softball team. Anyone who will let us carry their signs, hand out giveaways (rubber ducks! salty snacks! Whatever!) and walk the route in all our obviously not-straight-white-conservative glory, dressed in rainbows and glitter, dusters & top hats, mermaid hair and so on.

People who want to remake my community into a white nationalist dystopia should not be the only ones marching in front of that community proudly declaring, “We are here, we are proud of who we are, we demand to be recognized and respected.”

I think the community needs to see all the faces and hear all the voices.

band on a parade float bedecked in red white and blue bunting
My favorite float of the year

Anyway. That’s enough overthinking for one post.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: