[UPDATE: OC Democrats Blast Pauly] Video Captures Protesters, Politicians Berating Muslims at Yorba Linda Charity Function

Robert Cruickshank
UPDATE, MARCH 4, 4:05 P.M.: Now living in Monterey and formerly having worked as the public policy director for the Courage Campaign, Robert Cruickshank grew up in Orange County.

He's also a contributing editor to Calitics, a site dedicated to spreading progressive ideas.

Writing there (and getting picked up by California Progressive Report) today, Cruickshank says of the video he viewed of protesters spewing hate at men, women and scared-looking children at a Muslim charity event in Yorba Linda, "That is NOT my Orange County."

Yeah, he knows about the conservative bastion reputation and the John Birch Society having flourished here in the 1950s and '60s and the hatred directed at Latinos today. He even outs himself as a former member of the Rush Limbaugh fan club at 14 and Young Republicans at 15 and 16. Thankfully, he grew out of it.

But the Orange County he saw on display on that video was not the OC he was raised in or taught to believe in.

My Orange County is a deeply diverse place - and is a place that welcomes and embraces that diversity. My Orange County would say to a Muslim family "welcome home" and never "go back home" - because my Orange County knows that they already are home. My Orange County takes pride in its Latino community and heritage. My Orange County knows the important role African Americans continue to play in our neighborhoods. My Orange County welcomed Asian Americans with open arms, as equals.

Cruickshank surmises what was shown on that video (besides a case for kicking Ed Royce and Gary Miller out of Congress) was the last grasp of white, conservative Orange County to hold onto what it once had, and what it is in the process of losing. Cruickshank believes he will live to see Orange County turn blue. And when that happens, those haters in the video will really have something to scream about.

I hope and expect my Orange County to tell every single person who participated in that hateful rally to go back to that Islamic community, get on their knees and beg for forgiveness.

And if they don't, my Orange County will tell those right-wing bigots to "go back home"--because they don't have any place in my Orange County. Because they are not welcome in my Orange County. Because my Orange County moved on from that kind of hate a long, long time ago.<

UPDATE, MARCH 4, 9:46 A.M.: Among the scores who have reacted and linked to video the Weekly shared Thursday morning exposing protesters hurling hate and threats at men, women and scared-looking children entering and leaving a Muslim charity event in Yorba Linda last month was Walid Zafar of progressive media watchdog Media Matters.

The firestorm sparked by the video's release also produced a statement from Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton, shown at right), who defends the rally and calls criticism of his participation an "attack."

Now Zafar has reacted to Royce's reaction, both of which follow. ...

The title of Zafar's update? "Rep. Royce Plays the Victim, Suggests Children Support Controversial Imam."

Zafar found Royce's statement worse than if the congressman said nothing at all about the matter. Here's an excerpt from the Media Matters post:

Towards the very end of the statement, Royce did acknowledge the hate explosion, but said nothing more than, "It is regrettable that some protesters at the community center yelled insults at Imam Wahhaj's supporters."


The statement is worse than if Royce had said nothing at all. The video very clearly shows that children were among those who were screamed at, called "terrorist-lovers," and told to go home.

Royce's statement indicates that he has no problem with a crowd coming together to attack peaceful audience members. Nor is he upset with adults who scream insults at small children. Worse, he suggests that everyone who attended the fundraiser, including the young children, supported the controversial speakers.

Zafar indicated that he spoke this morning with Audra McGeorge, Royce's spokeswoman, and "pointed out that these are the unfortunate impressions anyone could get from her boss's statement."

She "seemed to shrug off the suggestion, saying that the press release was their official statement and that I could take from it anything that I chose," reports Zafar, who concludes, "Fair enough."

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