Letter: Concerns about the holiday parade

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I have concerns about the Asheville Holiday Parade. In the past, I have seen ROTC and military veterans with a float that had a large missile on it in the parade. No holiday cheer for me in those displays. But I believe in free speech. I really wish they were not in the parade, but I know that if we want free speech, it has to apply to everyone.

But what really inspired me to write this letter was the fact that the group Only One Earth is being denied entry into the parade because we were too “political.” There are many groups in Only One Earth, but they all stand for protecting our environment, nonviolence, health care for all, stopping our military-industrial complex and working for peace in our world. I was in the parade last year and helped hand out tiny origami peace doves. They were very, very small compared to the fake missile.

What I am having trouble understanding is how standing for peace and against environmental destruction, including by military industries, is too “political,” but having the ROTC and a fake missile in the parade is not too “political.”

If the holiday parade can tolerate military trainees and floats with fake missiles on them, surely the holiday parade can tolerate signs and T-shirts that promote peace, disarmament, health care and protecting the environment.

— Susan Oehler


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to letters@mountainx.com

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

14 thoughts on “Letter: Concerns about the holiday parade

  1. Prop Joe

    You say “they” as if you’re not one of them…..a member of OOE. MtnX should include that fact…..that all letters they’ve posted are from members of the group. The parade is for children, not senior citizens acting like children.

    • Shultz!

      Wow, another one from this group? Guess MtnX editor is perhaps a member. Unsure how else to explain the multiple publishings from this one tiny org

    • Susan

      from my letter: “the group Only One Earth is being denied entry into the parade because we were too “political.”

      I used the pronoun WE in the sentence.

      • Prop Joe

        The other four letter writers DIDN’T. You were told “no”, accept it and move on. And….shame shame for calling out young people looking for structure in their lives (by joining the ROTC). A senior citizen picking on children, because she wasnt allowed to play in an event produced for children.

        • Susan

          I fail to see how ROTC brings structure to anyone’s life. I also fail to see how I am picking on children.

          I will move on when I feel like it. I hope you know that you have the very same choice.

          By the way, the children did seem to love the origami peace doves that we handed out last year. They ran into the street to get them.

          • Prop Joe

            It’s not your place to see it. That’s the problem. And singling out the teenage children who see this as a big deal is absolutely picking on them. Hey young people – Susan doesn’t see any value in your decision to join the ROTC and doen’t think you bring value to the holiday parade, so maybe you all should just sit this one out and stick to pre-game festivities at your local HS football game.

    • Susan

      Also, do you really think the fake missiles are in the parade for the children? To scare them maybe?

    • Susan

      So, Only One Earth was banned from the parade for signs such as “Ho Ho Ho, Nuclear weapons have got to go” but a replica of a submarine was allowed in the parade in 2023.

      What do submarines have to do with the Christmas holiday or Santa Claus? Why are they not political but some signs are?

      Imagine this conversation:
      Child: What’s that daddy?
      Dad: a model of a submarine
      Child: what do submarines do?
      Dad: They travel around the world under the water to spy on people and sometimes shoot them.
      Child: Do they spy on Santa Claus? Do they shoot Santa Claus?

      • Prop Joe

        You misspelled *rejected*. You group isn’t important or influential enough to be banned, and your attempt to make a submarine anything but fun in the eyes of a child is possibly your biggest stretch to date. I’m laughing out loud right now.

  2. gapple

    Why do you hate the organizations that preserve your right to complain about them?

    • Susan

      Because they don’t preserve any rights. The military is for defense against enemies, not to insure the US Constitution is followed in the USA.

      • gapple

        so if we didn’t have a military protecting the country from foreign threats, those that would impose their laws and beliefs, you would be happy? Like maybe Sharia law, where you wouldn’t have any rights woman.

        • Susan

          I am 68 years old and the US military has not won a decisive victory in my lifetime (unless you count Granada, I guess they “won” that one). If some other country decided to invade and impose their beliefs and laws, the US military would not be of any help. They were not of any help on 9/11 either – they could not even stop an attack on the Pentagon. It was regular citizens who brought down the only plane that was stopped that day.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.