New Hampshire IMC :
New Hampshire IMC

Commentary :: Civil & Human Rights

The city of Portsmouth attempts to sensor The Portsmouth Halloween Parade

From a founding member of “The Portsmouth Halloween Parade”.
I think it’s absurd, this attempt to have the Halloween parade be anything other that what already is.
The overwhelming response to the ridiculous notion to “tone down” the Halloween Parade and make it a generic tasteless piece of crap event has proven once again that Portsmouth is made up of citizens that will not tolerate any infringements on their right to free speech and expression. This is a good and simple example that our civil liberties are more likely to be eroded under city ordinances than state or federal laws.
Twelve years ago in a cold winter’s night the overwhelming sense of boredom led us to interweave a platform that not only would provide an outlet for our own creativity but could also encourage others to apply their skills and talents. Thus the Portsmouth Halloween Parade was born.
When we formulated the idea of a Halloween parade, the only restriction was, and I believe still is, that motorized vehicles are prohibited. This was out of concern about the safety of children from inhaling fumes or the possibility of getting run over by a vehicle.
The only orchestration was to invite two marching bands and put the call out to all community members to come out, be creative and use their imagination to be whoever they would like to be. The invitation to participate included everyone from lawyers to city councilors to punk rockers and prostitutes and every one in between. Then, on the night of the parade, whatever beings showed up would be placed between two bands, one leading up the front and one bringing up the rear. And that’s it! There is no censorship, no directives, nor criticisms.
The Portsmouth Halloween Parade has put Halloween on the map. Halloween events started popping up all over the seacoast area days ahead from the night of the parade. This revival of the Halloween Spirit was done by the efforts of the organizers and the creative, open-minded members of our community. As far as some participant’s political expression is concerned, I think that when an individual has strong feelings about the events that are taking place in the world, as a conscientious citizen, that person may need to, and should be able to, express their feelings non violently at any open forum community event. The Portsmouth Halloween Parade is a parade of free expression, participation and inclusion. It is not an event of class oppression, pretentiousness and exclusion. By its own rights and nature Halloween is a spiritual/political and cultural expression. Whether or not the event is too scary for some, I find nothing scarier than dogmatic infestations of personal morality in our city’s council chambers. Please remember that all politics are local politics and make sure you take it to the polls next time.
When all is said and done the Halloween Parade is an Expression of Creative Dissent!
Happy Halloween!
Dino Papas
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