This week is the 174th anniversary of the pioneers entering the Salt Lake Valley. After a year’s hiatus due to the pandemic, the Days of ’47 Parade is returning. Politicians and interest groups love to participate in this highly visible event for obvious reasons. Most of them smile and wave from shiny vehicles.
In a fit of civic engagement, your columnists volunteered modest ideas for more substantive “theme” floats to these politicians and interest groups. But our suggestions were inexplicably rejected by all of them. (Apparently, our officials have good taste.) Here’s a sampling of floats for a more fun and animated parade:
Gov. Spencer Cox: A large flatbed farm trailer holding many Utahns, representing a variety of religious denominations. Cox is leading the crowds in prayer for more rain, less heat and better attitudes toward vaccinations. The overhead banner reads, “Prayer — It’s easy, free, and do you have a better idea?”
Sen. Mike Lee: An oversized baby crib mobile rotating various figures and images that Lee uses in describing friends, foes and legislation. Like a Captain Moroni/Donald Trump, a gun-toting Ronald Reagan riding a velociraptor, and Satan burning in hell while writing the Democrats’ voting reform legislation.
Anti-vaccination protesters: A giant grim reaper under the banner “Science, Schmience, who wants a sore arm anyway?”
The new redistricting commission: This hardworking group of appointed volunteers will be walking behind a banner saying, “What we suggest for district boundaries does matter. It really does. We promise it does.”
Sen. Mitt Romney: He will be standing on a Red Sea float, dressed as Moses, arms raised, leading members of Congress from the plagues of political bickering and bombastic rhetoric, through the parted waters of bipartisanship and on into the promised land.
Congressman Blake Moore: Dressed as superhero Captain Consistency with the poster, “I’m moderate and I voted how I promised.”
Congressman John Curtis: He would be atop a float pulling a giant ostrich head out of the sand under the banner, “Climate Change, is there any question after the last 60 days?”
Congressman Burgess Owens: Standing alongside a Britney Spears impersonator under the banner, “Release Britney — because I’m sure we all care.”
Congressman Chris Stewart: He would be dressed as a pioneer leading seagulls to eat the rampaging crickets — labeled as Marxists and socialists.
Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson: Riding in a car, but throwing masks instead of candy to the crowds, with the side banner, “You know they’re coming back!”
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall: Atop a huge float decorated as a bar, featuring protesters, bicyclists, vegans and tree-huggers under the banner, “Salt Lake City — you hate our politics but you love to party here”.
Utah Jazz players: They would be waving from a Conestoga prairie schooner wagon with a side banner: “Just reminding everyone of the heartbreak and disappointment endured by pioneers. We just wanted to provide a taste. You’re welcome.”
National Republican Party: A large, spartan float would hold a ghostly apparition and a large sign saying, “Inflation … It’s back … Thank you, Democrats.”
National Democratic Party: A large float would hold an impersonation of President Joe Biden with the banner, “Courtesy, compassion and adulthood in the White House.”
Bears Ears National Monument supporters and opponents: They walk together carrying a banner, “Thanks, Utah, for the issue that increases membership dues and contributions to our activist groups.”
Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson: Surrounded by staff carrying a banner, “Maintaining the legacy — defending Utahns against nonexistent voter fraud.”
Senate President Stuart Adams and House Speaker Brad Wilson leading a pack of legislators: Atop the float is a huge dollar sign with a banner: “We have billions to spend in one-time money, and don’t know what to do with it all. Any ideas?”
Attorney General Sean Reyes: Just carrying a large sign proclaiming, “Bringing the left and right together — to sue big tech.”
Utah Democrats: Marching behind a banner, “Relevant Once Again … at Least in D.C.”
Utah Republicans: Marching behind a banner, “Fighting for You. Fighting With Each Other.”
Downtown panhandlers: Holding signs saying: “We appreciate the new resource centers, but please don’t trample on our tent cities as you watch the parade.”
Pignanelli & Webb: As usual, we will be at the end of the parade in clown masks, carrying shovels and pulling a little wagon in the summer heat. No sign, just us grumbling, “Doing what we do best — cleaning up all the garbage left by those politicos.”
Republican LaVarr Webb is a political consultant and lobbyist. Email: email@example.com. Democrat Frank Pignanelli is a Salt Lake attorney, lobbyist and political adviser.