You would think that a Texas politician would know better.
This year, Austin Mayor Steve Adler refused to march in the Veteran’s Day Parade which is held to honor members of the United States military. Why? Because some groups are flying the Confederate flag during the parade.
That’s right. Austin’s Democratic mayor did not participate in the celebration because he felt it was more important to engage in meaningless virtue signaling.
Regardless of where one falls on the issue of the Confederate flag, Adler’s decision as the chief elected official of the City of Austin is regrettable. Instead of representing the city in an event celebrating our men and women in uniform, Adler believes it’s more important to make a political point.
Adler Forgoes Parade Honoring Vets Because of Confederate Flags
Earlier this month, the mayor announced that he would not participate in the Veteran’s Day Parade. He stated that his decision was based on the fact that some groups will be carrying the Confederate flag:
“Veterans Day should only be about honoring United States Military Veterans,” he said in a statement. “Symbols of racism, Civil War secession, and white supremacy should not be forgotten or erased, but they need to be remembered and studied in museums and classrooms not cheered and applauded in parades.”
While the volunteer organizers who coordinated the parade were not allowing groups to carry the Confederate battle flag this year, they are still allowing the official Confederate flag, which is different in design. Apparently, this was not good enough for the mayor. “I appreciate that step in the right direction, but for me it does not go far enough,” Adler stated.
Instead of marching in the parade, Adler volunteered at the Central Texas Food Bank, which serves a large number of veterans. He also planned to write thank you notes to service members.
“This was a hard choice, because I would very much like to be able to be part of the parade, because I want to honor veterans,” Adler said. “I’m really happy and excited that there are other ways for me to honor the veterans.”
Backlash Against The Mayor’s Boycott
As you might have guessed, many Austinites were not pleased with the mayor’s decision. Some spoke out against Adler’s boycott. Sheriff Robert Chody tweeted:
“Shame on you @MayorAdler! As a veteran I’m offended you would allow a small group dictate the true meaning of the intent of the parade. Honor the majority of those who served our great country by marching. Please reconsider!”
Chody was not the only one with criticism of the mayor. Michael Cargill, an Army veteran, told KXAN, “He is the mayor of the city of Austin, a great city, and this is his chance to say, ‘you know what, I’m going to put my differences aside, and I’m going to go there. I’m going to let them know that I dislike what they’re doing, but I’m still going to stand up for the veterans.’”
Cargill also stated that the parade represented an “opportunity to be the better guy.”
Here’s Why Adler Should Have Marched In The Parade
Confederate symbols have been a controversial issue in the United States for decades. This year, the debate over these icons has become even more heated as many on the left, and some on the right, have pushed for the removal of Confederate statues from public places.
A large number of Americans believe these icons are symbols of racism and oppression while others view them as reminders of our nation’s history. Both arguments have merit, and reasonable people on both sides can disagree on this issue. For this reason, Adler should have marched in the parade.
The mayor did not have to agree with the groups who carried the Confederate flags. As Cargill said, Adler could have made his disagreement known while still honoring the people who put their lives on the line to defend our nation and its values. Instead, he felt it was better to reject a celebration of our soldiers to score political points.
Right now, America seems to be more divided than it has ever been. In this current political climate, it is becoming nearly impossible for people of different backgrounds and viewpoints to find common ground.
Supporting our troops was something on which most of us could agree. Regrettably, Mayor Adler decided to politicize a parade intended to honor our soldiers. If other leaders follow his lead, celebrating our service members will become yet another area where Americans will no longer find areas of commonality.