As we approach the much loved San Francisco Gay Pride Parade June 29-30 the controversy surrounding the election of Bradley Manning as Grand Marshall continues to boil.
On April 25th, several newspapers (here and here) reported that Army Private First Class Bradley Manning was chosen by Pride’s electoral college as Grand Marshall for the 2014 Parade. However, the next day (April 26th) Pride board President Lisa Williams released a highly controversial and widely criticized missive attempting to annihilate the electoral college’s decision not only from Pride's parade process but from history itself. In harsh words which have been characterized as unseemly and authoritarian, Lisa Williams refused ‘even the hint’ of support for Bradley Manning as a whistle-blower and assured that any person involved had been ‘disciplined.’
This lead to an outcry by many organizations who support the actions of the Nobel Peace Prize nominee Manning, actions, which while illegal, brought to light incredible crimes of war and crimes against humanity perpetuated by the US Military. Due to the protestation of many activists, a hearing was scheduled by the Pride board for May 7th to discuss the selection and swift removal of Manning as Grand Marshal. That meeting was cancelled and the board met privately, much to the chagrin of interested parties.
In an age when the President of Hope has done more to crackdown on whistleblowers than all of the previous presidents combined and the government is actively creating an atmosphere of fear around telling the truth, it is worrisome to many to see Gay Pride falling victim to this intellectual malfeasance.
There is no violence in holding a hearing; there is no lack of security in allowing people to voice their opinions. When a group like Pride Inc implies that the concerned citizens protesting the closed door reversal of a popular decision is a threat to security we must begin to worry for them.