Anti-Immigration Protestor Hits GOP Convention—Guess What Happens?
It was with some trepidation that I decided to jump in with the body odor-and-trust fund crowd protesting the Republican convention on its final night. Getting arrested, I`m sure, is no fun, and as a conservative—albeit a radicalized one—I wasn`t sure if my message would go over well with the Che Guevara T-shirt wearers, some of whom share Che`s taste for physical confrontation.
But given President Bush`s absolutely wrong-headed approach to immigration—and the suppression of Rep. Tom Tancredo`s heroic attempt to get immigration reform into the platform—somebody had to take it to the streets. That person was me.
My message: Immigration is killing us. And George W. Bush is doing precious little about the problem.
More specifically, I put black text onto a 3-foot by 4-foot sign that read:
“1 Right-Winger Against Bush: Stop Immigration. Deport Illegals. Keep America.”
“Our country has always benefited from the dreams that others have brought here.”
Yes, Atta`s dream was realized, alright. Surely the point would be driven home for common-sense delegates and New Yorkers. Maybe even the protestors would stop and think.
Whether the protestors were doing much thinking, I couldn`t tell. The one or two positive reactions I got from them, I`m sure, were the result of seeing my displeasure with Bush. I doubt they read further down. I didn`t connect with them, for the most part.
But look who did:
- There was the green-jacketed transportation volunteer standing outside one of the many tour buses shuttling the delegates to and from Madison Square Garden. “Alright!” he said, giving a thumbs up after reading my sign.
- Then, there was the police officer on the corner, who read the sign and gave his own “alright!”
(I will overlook my other encounter with the NYPD, in which an officer rammed me with his chest, announced that he “owned” that corner, and that I should move on because “you people lost in court.” Clearly, the rare officer lacking a broader perspective on the rule of law and its promoters.)
- Then there were the delegates behind the heavily-tinted bus windows lined up in and around the Herald Square area. When one almost-full bus stopped, I pointed to the “Stop Immigration” part of my sign, and I kid you not: a woman nodded in what appeared to be approval. Beyond that, I got smiles, more thumbs-up, and several raised eyebrows (of the positive variety, as they were accompanied by up-and-down shakes of the head).
- I even got big smiles on the subway ride home, of all places.
Only once did a woman, wearing a red laminated “W“ tag (and thus presumably a convention attendee), wrinkle her nose in disgust after reading my sign.
Perhaps instead of illegals being deported, she was hoping they`d come to her house for tea and a little talk on the wonderfulness of GOP inclusion. Who knows?
But that was the extent of my negative reception.
And there I was, half-expecting to come home in an ambulance.
Now, if my street-level reception in Manhattan last night was any indication, just think of how deep the discontent with Bush`s position on immigration is elsewhere. Especially among rank-and-file Republicans and others across the country who are more concerned with a safe, secure and culturally coherent America than posturing for the New York Times as “tolerant” and “diverse.”
But the immigration insanity continues, largely thanks to Dubya.
Here`s hoping that, in future conventions, anti-immigration voices are heard inside the convention center.
Because if they aren`t, the Republican Party will have proven its uselessness in protecting America.
If it hasn`t already.