Democracy in Action (plus the Minutemen and Kotex)
This being Sunday, which most Americans regard as "The Lord's Day" (hence the great number of prayers being uttered over a couple of simple college basketball games), let us extend our best imitation of Christian pity towards the wretched, no matter how repulsive they may be. And the wretched I have in mind are pretty repulsive indeed.
First, there's the Minutemen, the brainchild of Aliso Viejo's Jim Gilchrist (though brain may not be the best choice of words in this context). The Minutemen had to cancel their March 11 protest in Santa Ana, when they couldn't muster enough protestors for even a damp squib of an effort. Meanwhile, yesterday in Los Angeles, at least 500,000 of the sort of people the Minutemen fear, marched to protest HR 4437, the immigration "crackdown" legislation currently making its way through Congress.
Especially annoying to the Minutemen must have been the All-American nature of protest. Peaceful (half a million marchers and not a single arrest), joyous, and patriotic. As the Los Angeles Times reports:
In contrast to demonstrations 12 years ago against Proposition 187, Saturday's rally featured more American flags than those from any other country. Flag vendors were soon overwhelmed by demonstrators holding out dollar bills.
Writer Max Blumenthal was there, and has recorded his impression on his blog at the Huffington Post: "the largest, most energized demonstration I have ever witnessed in my life." Blumenthal also provides some background on HR 4437, and its possible consequence for the Republican party:
In passing HR 4437 and whatever draconian and utterly counter-productive bill emerges from the Senate, the congressional Republicans have become their party's worst enemy. They have cast their white, Southern base in conflict with the Latino constituency the RNC and the Bush White House realize they must win over if they are ever to achieve a so-called "Republican majority."
The author of HR 4437, and the second of the wretched I have in mind, is Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin). An autocratic bully, Sensenbrenner deserves our pity, because he has to live his life under the shadow of Kotex. Sensenbrenner's great-grandfather invented Kotex 90-some years ago, and his family has being living on the profits ever since. It can't be easy being Little Lord Kotex in today's Republican party. Sensenbrenner must know that the overgrown frat-boy type Republican which the party has in such abundance, feels his brain (again, perhaps not quite the right word) fill with all sorts of locker room jokes whenever he see the congressman approach. And Sensenbrenner must suspect that the Biblical literalists the party has been pandering to for votes with its gay-and Darwin-bashing, don't approve of where his money comes from. After all, the Bible is very clear on matters of feminine hygiene. Leviticus (15:19-30) prescribes a strict course of shunning, and in extreme cases, pigeons. In fact, Leviticus devotes much more space to its guidelines on menstruation than it does to its prohibition on homosexuality, so if you're going live your life according to the later, you better abide by the former as well.
So today, as we contemplate that massive patriotic protest yesterday in L.A., let us spare a moment's pity for the wretched. And you're not going to find many more wretched than the Minutemen and James Sensenbrenner.