A local Republican group plans to hold a mock funeral on Friday to "bury" issues backed by Democrats, and the event is ruffling plenty of feathers.
Yale Wishnick, president of United Republicans of Green Valley and Sahuarita — formerly the Republican Club of Green Valley and Sahuarita — said the mock funeral is part of its three-day Labor Day Extravaganza and fits in with the rebranded organization's three-part goal.
"It's educating, organizing, mobilizing," he said. "That's pretty much our mantra. That's how we're putting together everything that we're doing."
The mock funeral, dubbed "Bury the Democratic Party," begins at 9 a.m. with the decorating of vehicles for the "funeral" in front of Democratic Headquarters at Continental Shopping Plaza. It will include a procession with a fake casket to GOP Headquarters in Green Valley Village for food and a eulogy.
The Green Valley News first reported the event in its daily emailed newsletter on Thursday. Within a few hours, about 30 people contacted the paper, most taking the paper and GOP to task.
Democratic Club president Matthew Boyd isn't happy either.
"It's not surprising that they would try to bury the truth with humor," he said. "This is a damned serious election. This is the most serious election in my life."
Boyd also rebuked United Republicans for the mock funeral given the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic. The CDC reported more than 180,000 COVID-19 deaths as of Friday.
Wishnick called criticism from Boyd and others hypocritical given the Democrats' pro-abortion stance.
"I find that not only hypocritical, I find that disgraceful," he said.
Wishnick said they don't intend to interfere with businesses during the event.
Boyd said he doesn't plan to engage with the Republicans but said there might be some of Democratic Club of the Santa Rita Area members in the building. The club is expanding its hours on Monday, opening 9:30 a.m. to noon, after having partial hours due to COVID-19.
Green Valley resident and Democrat Bob Allen was among those who contacted the Green Valley News. He said he considered holding a sign to counter demonstrate when he found out about United Republicans event.
He said it would be the first time he ever held a sign or demonstrated in his life.
"As I ponder it a little further, it's like a bunch of college fraternity guys trying to do something to the freshmen or an inter-college rivalry or something," Allen said. "This is not reality."
Suzanne Sumrall, a Democrat and 32-year resident of Green Valley, also objected to the event.
She has participated in demonstrations at Esperanza Boulevard and La Cañada Drive but doesn't plan to show up to voice her objections on Friday.
"My thought process is that we should just absolutely ignore it," she said. "Nobody should be there and just ignore the whole thing."
Wishnick wasn't deterred by the criticism and said he hopes there is some reaction from Democrats on Friday.
"I know that may sound a little odd," he said.
Wishnick said Democrats and their policies need to be challenged and wants this event to fill that role.
"I hope there is some pushback," he said. "I hope the Democrats are as angry as can be because then we'll have an opportunity to talk with them, tell them where they're wrong and then we'll ask them, 'Do you support families?'"
But Wishnick doesn't want a confrontation.
"This is 100 percent peaceful," he said. "In fact, anyone there who is not peaceful will be asked to leave, and I mean that. I will not allow that. It's very peaceful, very sober and very purposeful."