by Heidi @ Euphoric Reality
On Monday, I attended the pro-illegal/amnesty rally in downtown Houston. I was pretty sick and really shouldn't have been out, but I wanted to see what was going on with the people, the politicians, the media, the reconquistas, and get a feel for the overall tone of the rally. I was by myself, and honestly pretty nervous. Kit was even more nervous for me, because she fretted that I would start something if I saw our flag being dishonored in any way. Since such actions were pretty common at the previous rallies, she was right to be worried! I would have.
But lessons have been learned. The backlash from the overt anti-American sentiment displayed at previous rallies resulted in significantly toned down rhetoric here in Houston. The event organizers had really gone out of their way to make sure that protesters were carrying American flags, and they even tried to start scattered chants of "U.S.A!", though with little enthusiastic success. Nevertheless, a conscious effort was expended to mask the anti-Americanism of the previous demonstrations. Privately, I think the efforts are too little, too late - but for the marzipan sensibilities of the hovering press, it was probably enough.
I was alone and a bit nervous about stepping into the crowd, so I stood on the sidelines keeping an eye open for unusual signs or anyone that looked like they knew what they were doing. Once I spotted someone, I stepped into the surging crowd and asked my first question, "Do you speak English?" Most did not, and none of the women I asked could speak English, or so they told me.
The following .mp3 audio files are conversations I had with people in the crowd. I didn't try and engage anyone in a debate, I just wanted them to tell me in their own words why they thought they were there or what they believed. Here's what they think, in their own words:
There was this one guy whose audio didn't turn out but I wanted to tell you about him since he was quite a character. He caught my eye because was walking around in a black and white prison costume, with his hands handcuffed together. The sign he was holding protested that he was not a criminal. He told me he didn’t want to be “oppressed” anymore. He has been in America for about 15 years, illegal the whole time. His two kids were born here and are American citizens. He said all he wanted was citizenship. I asked him when he filed his paperwork to apply for citizenship. He said he hadn't. I asked him how he could become a citizen without actually filing the paperwork, and why hadn't he if it meant so much to him? He said it was too hard, but with this new law, he'd just "get it". "Get what?" I asked. He said, "Get what I deserve - to be American". I asked him if he'd then file the paperwork and pay the fine to make himself eligible for the amnesty and he just looked at me blankly. I then understood that he thinks the politicians just wave their hands and grant citizenship. And you know what, if the Senate passes their amnesty bill, he's probably more right than me.
While the crowd chanted, "Si, se puede!", I saw a group of high school students. One of them, Moses, agreed to tell me what those words meant to him: Another variation on the theme of "Get It."
This next guy to the left is Carlos, and he advocates brotherly love and no borders anywhere. Needless to say, his ideas were stunningly stupid. You can tell when I was talking to him that at times I was at a loss as to how to continue the conversation. The long pauses you hear are because I was in speechless awe of someone's raw naiveté (stupidity?), and I was trying very hard to maintain a neutral poker face. See if you can follow his [il]logic. I just gave up at the end... The No Borders Anywhere Guy
My next conversation is with Steve, an American, proud socialist, and Fidel Castro fan. I wonder how people get so misinformed - they must really have to work hard at it. Like this guy, who's obviously worked harder than most: The Marxist..
I had a conversation with this guy (behind the Zapata sign), Perfecto, about why Mexicans won't expend their energies trying to improve Mexico. He's convinced it's impossible because of how corrupt the Mexican government is. He thinks it's much easier to change America than Mexico. Hmm. BTW, I had a Freudian slip in there when I asked about Vicente Fox being "arrested" - oops - I meant "elected". Zapata Sign - Perfecto.
I made my way down to the front of the crowd where the Democratic politicians were regaling the crowd with Big Promises. This one guy kept calling the Latinos his "brothers and sisters" in "the struggle". The audio is poor, but I'm including it so you can hear the Sunday-go-to-meetin' preachy tone of his voice. He promises that after amnesty, they'll get the wages they deserve, just like all working Americans - starting at $11/hour.. Now what have we already told you guys about the temporary anesthesia of the benefits of so-called "cheap labor"? It'll be history as soon as the Senate gives amnesty to millions of illegal laborers. Employers will be forced to pay illegals what they refuse to pay Americans right now. It's a lose/lose proposition.
I was on my way out of the rally when I was stopped by an older gentleman who was collecting signatures for a petition to enable Carole Keeton Strayhorn, "One Tough Grandma!" to run for governor of Texas. I had already signed a petition previously, but I asked him for her views on illegal immigration: Carole Keeton Strayhorn.mp3
Let's skip over to Phoenix, Arizona and check in with DeMediacratic Nation to see how the Day of Action played out there. All links are of photos of the rally in Phoenix:
Early on, he reported:
At the moment a walk-around is pretty laid back with people just lounging around and waiting. The air is filled with the sound of fiesta, with speakers blaring music from south of the border. Some school aged people at the capital are preparing to wander and get people to register to vote. It's pretty quiet, but I hear there's a couple people on the way.
City of Phoenix officials just said 130k on the way to the park.
Here they come and the public park quickly filled up.
Blandly Urbane sums up his final post of photos by remarking on the end result: "Overall it was just a mass of people walking. The lessons were learned and the Stars and Stripes were everywhere. You can protest/march all you want, but if the message is one of legalizing the illegal - it just defies logic to me."
Up in Chicago, the ever-interepid Jake and MJ covered the pro-illegal rally, up close and personal. MJ relates what kind of reaction her Tancredo/Sensenbrenner '08 t-shirt elicited from the rally attendees:
I did get a reaction though, judging by Gutierrez's comments, and some from those around me. The thoughtfully intelligent responses from the crowd around me included -- and I quote:
"Stinkin' t-shirt! That's a stinkin' t-shirt!"
"Wanna take a pee pee."
"Smell somethin' bad."
"He's that anti-immigrant *expletive*."
"Would like to take a pee pee."
"What's that smell?"
MJ also wrote about how illegal aliens are stealing a voice in our government. Then, as she listened to her elected representatives, or what she and Jake call RPWs (race-pandering whores), she realized that they are giving our country away:
My elected representatives are giving away the rights of the American people, the value and power of democracy, the very voice of the citizens of this country, to those who have broken our laws to come, stay, and work here. They are using these lawbreakers to try and drown out my voice -- the voice of a citizen -- a resident of Durbin's Illinois -- a resident of Gutierrez's 4th congressional district.
This concludes our in-the-mix coverage of the National Day of Action. We go wandering around in huge crowds so you don't have to! In the meantime, make sure you've faxed and/or called your senators. They need to have a huge stack of NO AMNESTY messages waiting for them when they get back to work!
This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It is syndicated by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront of our minds as we’re going about our daily lives and continuing to fight the war on terror. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration in our country, join the Blogburst! Send an email with your blog name and url to euphoricrealitynet at gmail dot com.