My Turn, Alan Menius: We must call out this intolerance

Published 12:52 am Thursday, August 2, 2018

I was stunned when I heard of the cancellation of the Holiday Caravan parade. For the record, I’ve never been an avid parade fan and, because of work commitments and a lack of interest, I haven’t been to the Christmas parade in ages. The kids and grandkids have and still enjoy it. Aside from that, whether or not the parade occurs is of no personal interest to me. However, I do think the Christmas parade is one of those community events where the mere gathering of a broad swath of people has value to the greater good.

I presume that those who control and run the Holiday Caravan parade are under no obligation to continue to do so. So be it if they wish to take their ball (or lack of any) and go home.

However, I am very much saddened that it is done in what appears to be a blatantly small-minded slap in the face to the not-insignificant group of folks in the city and county who strive and long for a broader, more open-armed community in which to live.

I’m more saddened that people who still choose to resist that openness out of fear, distrust, and personal prejudices feel licensed by our current societal and political environment to lash out with the level of vehement hatred that has been expressed, especially in Facebook, in the past 24 hours. Veleria Levy is a smart, kind, well-intentioned woman who passionately advocates for her vision of a better community and world. This, for various reasons, rubs some the wrong way and lines are quick to be drawn.

I am a Rowan native, so I think I have good understanding of our collective history and accept that we cannot expect all to see eye-to-eye. I do look around and marvel at the area’s diversity in contrast to the era those my age grew up in. I take heart in seeing how so many people do accept the changes around us, most demonstrably when these differences come home to their own families.

I call on those folks to share a message of love and acceptance, and I call on all of us to no longer tolerate the intolerance that remains all too evident in the community at large. We should call it out when it surfaces, especially when so publicly as we are seeing in the Holiday Caravan debacle.

Alan K. Menius is a resident of Salisbury.