Thursday, May 22, 2008

and then there was one

This week there has been so many things I have done or seen that have made me think it was perfect blog fodder. That happens alot; I will have an overwhelming desire to speak and process via blog like 92 million things in a short time but feel conflicted about which to choose and I end up picking none.

One of the highlights this week was a protest at DePaul. When I say protest, I dont mean the usual 4 or 5 liberal kids that stand outside the students center with signs about "Drive out the Bush regime, the world can't wait" and hand out bright orange bandanas, or do I mean the usual liberal contingency getting flustered that we serve Coca Cola on campus because they discourage unions. I mean a full out protest. I was thrilled, I love this stuff even if I could care less what they are protesting! I love the excitement and the organizing and doing something. I poke at both liberals and conservatives quite a bit on here, and after I add up all the things I feel liberally about and then subtract all the things I feel conservatively about multiplied by my Christian faith and divided by the fact that I am super emotional and reactionary I find myself hanging out in the middle of the political spectrum. Its interesting and I am ok with not labeling myself because thats too stifling. Enough small talk.

So DePaul is like me: contradicting and fine with it. It is supposedly a Catholic Vincentian school (all about service) but we have a huge room for Muslim worship and the jewish population far surpass the Catholic one, I think. We are also a super super wowie liberal college and the most diverse student body in the nation for the last 5 years. But there is a conservative student alliance (i bet there is not more than 20 members)and the guys wear ties alot and print a cute little ranty paper hating DePaul because of its liberal bias and confuse me when I read it for fun because why would they pick to go here if they know most everything here has a liberal stance. The head of the Conservative Alliance and I got into a heated (screaming) match once upon a time when I was a freshman at a forum on Abu Gahrib prison. Little did we know the heights we would soar: He became head of the Conservative Alliance and would be on the news all week long leading up to Tuesday and I would write a blog about it. :)

So on Tuesday the Cons. Stud. Alliance (henceforth CSA) planned a presentation with the leader of the minutemen, Chris Simcox. The minutemen are a group of self armed citizens that patrol the border we share with Mexico with firearms looking/hunting for people that are crossing illegally. That much is fact. They do that, with weapons. The rest is all sketchy, but among these sketchy allegations I have heard in classes, in the quad, at the protest, on their website, on the internet, etc are as follows:
1. it's renegade justice
2. they set food/water traps in the desert that the starving-thirsty immigrants stop at and then are captured by the minutemen who deliver them unto the immigration department
3. they are protecting out country from intruders
4. they are named the minutemen because they can kill an immigrant in under a minute
5. they are named the minutemen after the farmers who armed themselves and assisted in driving out the British and called themselves that in Shay's Rebellion during the Revolutionary War
6. they arent against all immigration, just illegal immigration
7. they are racist.
And on and on. All conflicting. And all I dont care.
WHAT? Sarah how can you not care? Exactly. Just keep your pants on.

So I had class and it got out at 830 and my boyfriend came to meet me on his way home. I was super excited to go see the protest because it was supposed to be big and some immigrant groups from South side of Chicago had WALKED all night (why?) and camped out all day at DePaul and there was going to be churches, immigrants rights groups, Depaul students, news crews, lots of police, and all around just plain fun times and revelry.

We walked to the Athletic Center and you could hear them chanting stuff from a block away and see the lights of the news crew vans (all of them 2, 5, 7, 9, 32 and Spanish stations were there and set up and interviewing people). I often tell my boyfriend he is the only Black conservative Republican in Chicago (I joke) and keeping with his nature he was not excited about the punk rock LBGTQ (thats DePaul's handy dandy term for lesbian-bisexual-gay-transexual or transgender-queer students) students just generally making no sense and running amuck with black flags (?) screaming "no borders" and other indecipherable stuff. I did see a couple small groups of people from indigenous and Latino heritage playing small drums and holding signs in spanish but mostly it was the aforementioned hyper white kids with punk rock anarchist intentions that I feel TOTALLY comfortable laughing at. (baaaaddddd Christian! I know I know)
First of all they were dancing badly to the tribal beat of the drums. Second they werent really organized and yelled different things. Third, they were not yelling grammatically correct spanish when they tried. They were yelling "Simcox (the speakers last name) Eschuchamos! DePaul Eschuchamos!" That means Simcox, we are listening. DePaul we are listening. What they wanted to say was Simcox Listen to us, DepAul listen to us = because they followed it up with "we dont want hate." I was amused.

Also, the funniest thing was this old guy with an orange flag on a long super high pole that said Drive out the Bush regime the world cant wait. Now yes, lets run Bush out and far away but how is that relevant to this protest? I love it, anywhere in Chicago there is anything protesty, like foie gras for example, the "Drive out the Bush regime" people show up and jump on their bandwagon. I am like "No". Get your own wagon. Well, this man was way older than everyone there and had on like ALL orange and was waving this big pole which he held in a weird, um, slightly inappropriate way with this little orange flag on top.

So Marquis and I walked around and were entertained for a while and as we crossed Sheffield in a meandering way to go back to my car and go home we saw one girl. One girl. By herself. With her sign. It said "Preventing illegal things is not illegal."
She looked Mexican. Marquis was like "EXACTLY." We stopped and talked to her as 2 obnoxious protesters crossed the street and told her to go home and the guy kind of reached for her sign which was taped to the front of her. They told her to go home and what if she was illegal and she should come back from the country she came from and seriously was not making any good sense. She was the lone dissenter. 1. I was like hey buddy where are your friends? She said they were across the street on the other side of the protest. I was so amazed that she came out, by herself, not to support Simcox because she said he was a scumbag bastard and not to decry immigrant or immigration because her family emigrated here legally from the Middle East but to point out that Simcox in all his bastardness was not doing anything illegal by preventing illegal immigration. She felt illegal immigration was wrong. People kept coming up to her and saying stupid stuff and spitting on her. I was confused, they were out there protesting "hate against minorities" and here were some cocky white kids yelling at her to shut up and go home.

Ok lets break this one down: they are protesting so wanting their voices to be heard for what they think is right but wanted her to shut up and go home? As two rowdy people came up on her, Marquis and I divided them up as to which ones to take if they touched her. She was cool, one of the coolest people I have met at DePaul. WHo has the strength to be the only one in a group of a couple hundred to say that they disagree? Publicly. The news channels missed the real story here. And all those protesters need to take a class on free speech and ettiquette of dissenting. C

This is long, so more tomorrow on my views of immigration and how that is exciting.

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