The new kids on the block broke onto the Tea Party scene yesterday with bang. The Pima County Tea Party Patriotsgroup introduced itself Thursday morning with the SB 1070 support rally in downtown Tucson that drew hundreds to the intersection of Granada and Congress streets. Gathered to demonstrate their support for the law (despite injunctions placed on it by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton), the Patriots made their stand diagonally across the intersection from activists protesting the law.
It did not take close scrutiny to notice the difference between the two groups.
The rallying Patriots appeared with American flags waving and homemade signs in hand. They gathered peacefully and quietly. They came to voice their opinion, no more, no less.
But there was not an American flag to be seen across the way, where instead protestors held identical manufactured signs and cardboard banners proclaiming, “I am illegal.” More vocal, the protestors shouted, “yes we can” – in Spanish. They called for an end to the hate. They asked that the rights of all people be respected. (There have been no arguments from the Tea Partiers against either of these statements, by the way.)
They also bussed in people of unknown origin to bolster their numbers, blocked the road, dispatched hecklers and a tuba band to harass the rally-ers, and, in other parts of town, dumped rubbish and tires in the freeway to block traffic and potentially rob people of their lives.
There was only one incident in which a supporter of the law embedded himself in the midst of the protestors and created a scene. He was arrested, and rightfully so. But even this provides a contrast. One person, acting on his own personal motivation is quite different from organized, calculated trouble-making incited from the top-down.
I want to highlight some of the ironies underlying these observations. The Tea Party is accused of being a conspiratorial, counterfeit organization, while it is often only the opponents of the Party that fit this bill. Partiers are accused of being hateful racists, while it is the proponents of the other side who make verbal assaults from their cars and persistently use race to polarize and divide America.
It is time for Americans to stand up and say:
“We are not going to allow this anymore. We are going to be a nation of laws, as we once were, a nation of common sense where words have meanings, and they are respected. We will once again be a country where you make something out of yourself rather than let the government and the media make you what you are.”
It is time for Americans to reject the insidious rhetoric that would have us all believing that it is a universal human right to live in the United States, rather than a blessing and an honor. It is time for strength over appeasement, common sense over rhetoric, freedom over politics, and the rule of law over free-for-all.
I applaud the Pima County Tea Party Patriots for a job well done, and I await their August 27th event: “Gabby Retirement Party” to be held in front of Gabrielle Giffords’ office from 4-6 PM. Most of all, I anticipate Tucson’s turn-around.