This past Saturday, ALIPAC, an extremist anti-immigrant organization based in my home state of North Carolina, hosted their ‘anti-amnesty tea parties’ across the country. (Its worth noting that I will use quote marks every time I call these ‘tea parties’. The anti-amnesty crowd does not legitimately represent the teabaggers.)
From the ‘Against Amnesty’ site:
President Obama along with Republican and Democrat DC insiders are preparing a mass ‘Comprehensive’ Amnesty for illegal immigrants in America that will provide a path to citizenship and turn illegal aliens into voters even though a vast majority of Americans oppose this.
Interestingly enough, this “vast majority” of America only equaled a grand total of 53 parties. Yes, that VAST MAJORITY (caps make it more believable) seems to be a small fringe.
There are reports that the parties were poorly attended and at a few of them counter-protestors actually outnumbered the anti-amnesty party goers.
One of the parties, in Minnesota, has gained a bit more coverage than others. In the best prank I’ve seen since the billionares for wealthcare in DC, an activist calling himself “Robert Erickson” got up in front of the crowd and gave a rousing speech about sending the illegals all home. The twist – he was talking about European immigrants.
Here’s an excerpt.
It’s no secret that with an invasion of immigrants comes waves of crime. We see them involved in massive theft, in murder, and bringing diseases like smallpox, which is responsible for the death of millions of Americans.
I say it’s time for us to say enough is enough! Are you with me? Are you with me? Let’s send these European immigrants back where they came from! I don’t care if they are Polish, Irish, English, Italian, or Norwegian! European immigrants are responsible for the most violent and heinous crimes in the history of the world, including genocide and slavery! It’s time to restore the sovereignty of people native to this land!
The crowd seems to never catch on and by the end they are chanting “Go home, Columbus!” with some serious energy. Hilarious.
What isn’t so hilarious is the reaction of the ‘tea partiers’.
According to Sally Jo Soreson at BlueStem Prarie, the party goers began violently attacking the counter protestors after they (slowly) realized they had been punked.
Unfortunately, some of the pro-MINN-SIR audience made up for what they lacked in humor through the use of violence. Both Danielson and I saw middle-aged men attack young protesters, knocking one off a bike before he started throwing punches at the young man.
Just as shocking was the reaction of the state police working the rally, who pushed back those being attacked, rather than those attacking the counter protesters.
Those of us involved in the fight for immigration reform have been saying for a while that the violence and hate we saw at the health care town halls will be nothing compared to what is to come from these extremists once immigration legislation hits the floor.
The silver lining? These people are the extreme fringe. Despite ALIPAC’s attempts to latch on to the seeming momentum of the “tea parties”, they can’t seem to make themselves relevant. That’s because, they aren’t. Period.
They don’t represent the majority of America, no matter HOW many capital letters the cram into their blog posts and websites.
Just to give you an idea: the Reform Immigration FOR America campaign that is pushing for a comprehensive reform to our immigration policy, is also organizing house parties. To date, there are over 650 of such parties happening across the country on November 18th.
Hmmmm… last time I checked 650 > 53. And humane and sensible solutions > loud vitriolic anti-immigrant hate fervor.
From the Washington Examiner:
“If Alexandria’s event was an indication of how popular anti-immigration tea parties are, ALIPAC has much work to do between now and next spring when the organization plans to combat the Democrats comprehensive immigration reform drive.”
Attempting to self-define as part of the broader tea party movement will not make the anti extremists legitimate. It will only further their reputation as fringe wing nuts that most everybody, including Dick Armey (the godfather of the tea party himself), will want to distance themselves from.