City of Roses
|ABC News New York: October 5, 2006
This evening, a group of angry protestors demonstrated during a speech the founder of the Minuteman Project, Jim Gilchrist, was delivering at Columbia University, located in Manhattan.
Two minutes into Gilchrist's speech, the group invaded the stage interrupting him, accusing him of racism and labeling him a "vigilante", which sparked a riot which then Minutemen supporters in the audience took to the stage to seize the banner the demonstrators brought with them.
Part of what Gilchrist said in his speech included: "This allowing someone who’s gotten here illegally to stay cannot be tolerated if we are going to be a nation governed by the rule of law,” said Gilchrist. “If we tolerate this, then we’re going to be a nation governed by mob rule, the absolute opposite of what our founding fathers envisioned 230 years ago."
In response, one protestor suggested: "Minutemen are not a legitimate voice in the debate over immigration. The Minutemen are a group of racist vigilantes who stand on the border with their rifles and call it open hunting season on anyone with brown skin."
Finally, Gilchrist responded, "Nothing in the Minuteman model says anything about racism. We are multiethnic; I have Marvin Stewart, an American African from Long Beach with me, he’s on my board of directors." and concluded that the more controversy, the better.
What do y'all think about this altercation? I absolutely think that those protestors were disrespectful and unruly, and they had no right to abuse their freedom of speech by invading the public space of others who had the right to speak. I believe a healthy democracy should always allow dissenters to argue or counter ones arguments with their own in any public forum, but these protestors appear like they had absolutely no interest in dialogue or debate, but rather try to sabotage that forum, and how they took over the stage to me could arguably be one act short of physical assault.
To address another point, I've already begun to see some blogs accuse liberals generally speaking for this unruliness, and I must say that's also blatantly unfair, as that would be a hasty generalization of sorts as well as a straw-man sort of logical fallacy assuming that all liberals are sympathetic with illegal immigrants and want to physically assault the Minutemen, and moreover when you look at every poll, a strong majority of the American public is to the right of Bush and much of the Republican Party on illegal immigration, and that includes a great amount of self-described "liberals" and "Democrats", who may be divided on certain specific ideas toward curbing illegal immigration but share in agreement the general idea that if we are going to preserve the ideals of us being the "land of opportunity" and our ideals of equality, we must take our borders far, far more seriously.
Illegal immigration is really an issue of common sense that transcends mere party and social labels, which either our commitment or passiveness to the issue will determine how much longer we maintain our identity as a nation of laws and equality in pursuit of the American dream. Perhaps the proper label for those dozens this evening would be "the recalcitrant and disrespectful mob".
Just another example of free speech hypocrisy of modern times.
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"
[This message has been edited by Mistletoe Angel (10-06-2006 12:17 AM).]