The Las Cruces Tea Party in New Mexico decided that it would be a good idea to fly the confederate flag during the Las Electric Light Parade on the Fourth of July. The flag drew sharp criticism from the city’s Mayor. The float, however, won first prize at the end of the parade.
Mayor Ken Miyagishima wrote in a statement:
“The Las Cruces Tea Party can believe whatever it wants, but to have this symbol and what it represents highlighting the winning float at a celebration of our nation’s independence is an outrage…. I deeply apologize to the people of Las Cruces as well as our friends throughout the State of New Mexico for the pain that this has caused… I can assure you that we will thoroughly review the rules and procedures for next year’s parade to make sure that this never happens again.”
El Paso Electric, the parade’s sponsor for the last 10-years, also released a statement.
The company said:
“El Paso Electric was surprised and outraged at the selection for an award of a float that contained a Confederate flag. El Paso Electric will not support the parade in the future unless criteria are established by the city to prevent such an outcome in the future.”
Christopher Cruz, the chairman of the Electric Light Parade, said that the judge’s look for quality and creativity of a parade’s lights display. According to Cruz, the judges never saw the Confederate flag and that the float was not given the $1000 prize based on its content.
“The judges are judging the actual lights of the float, and that’s it, not its content, not if it’s political or which organization it belongs to… The only things we can see are the lights that are on the float. It’s a nighttime parade and the floats are going by quickly.”
Do you think using a confederate flag on the fourth of July is wrong?
The Las Cruces Tea Party defended using the flag, saying that the theme of the parade was the history of New Mexico.
Jo Wall, the secretary of the Las Cruces Tea Party, told the LC Sun:
“(We used the flag) because it’s history, and you can’t change history. I know they’re trying to, but you can’t.”
But according to Miyagishima, the parade was supposed to celebrate New Mexico’s 100 years of statehood. And during that time, the confederate flag was never flown.
“The Confederate flag never flew in those 100 years, I’m pretty certain of that.”
But the group said that New Mexico’s history goes back further than 1912. The group said in a statement:
“The theme of the parade was the history of the State of New Mexico… There was a lot of history that defined our state prior to 1912. We showed how we fought for our statehood and the sacrifices we made along the way, along with our triumphs.”
The group said that it was trying to accurately represent the history of New Mexico and did not mean to offend anyone.
What do you think of the Las Cruces Tea Party Fourth of July float?