If you weren’t raised in Portland, Ore., as I was, you may not understand what a big deal this is. Portland is “the City of Roses” and for more than 80 years has celebrated by hosting a Rose Parade.
When I was 5, I marched in that parade. Ten years ago, a business association decided to take advantage of this branding to host a local version of the Rose Parade on 82nd Avenue. But this year’s parade was cancelled, after it received death threats for permitting Oregon Republicans to host a float. The organizers asked the Portland police for extra protection. When the police department refused, organizers shut down the parade saying they could not guarantee participants’ safety.
Here is the cowardly anonymous email that lead to the cancelling of the parade:
“You have seen how much power we have downtown and that the police cannot stop us from shutting down roads so please consider your decision wisely,” the anonymous email said, telling organizers they could cancel the Republican group’s registration or else face action from protesters. “This is non-negotiable.”
We need to stop calling this the “heckler’s veto” and recognize it for what it is: a new and effective “rioter’s veto” that strikes a dagger into the heart of our democracy.
Photo credit: Alan Levine via Flickr, CC BY 2.0