May Day

May 8th, 2018

“For What It’s Worth” from Buffalo Springfield

“There’s something happening here
But what it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware.
I think it’s time we stop
Children, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

 

There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking’ their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind

It’s time we stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, “hooray for our side”

It’s time we stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?”

 

Voces de la Frontera had its annual May Day march and rally a week ago. It was another “Day Without Latinxs and Immigrants”. People came to Waukesha from all over the state of Wisconsin. The reason for holding the march in Waukesha, as opposed to any other location, is that Waukesha County Sheriff Severson has agreed to participate in the federal government’s 287g program, which essentially makes Waukesha County deputies into ICE agents. Seeing as Waukesha County is the most Republican county in the entire state, it isn’t really a surprise that the sheriff would want to team up with the Trump administration on this program to help ICE deport more undocumented persons. So, we all gathered in Cutler Park in downtown Waukesha for the demonstration against the 287g program. There were other reasons to demonstrate, but that was the main one.
Voces claims that there were ten thousand people in Waukesha for the march. I don’t know how they come up with that number. I guess there must be a way to estimate crowd size, but I don’t know how to do it. I do know that the park was packed full, and the march itself extended for blocks and blocks. Various political leaders gave speeches rouse the rabble, and other speakers led chants to get everybody wound up. Most people were carrying signs or banners. The vast majority of the participants were Latino, but there was also a small Muslim immigrant contingent. There was a group from Planned Parenthood. I am not sure why they came. The Planned Parenthood members were easy to pick out because they all wore bright pink shirts. ACLU was there to observe the demonstration, and to keep an eye out for trouble. I saw a few Franciscan brothers in the crowd, along with some other representatives of religious organizations.
When the march actually began, I helped to hold up a huge, round banner that looked a bit like a cross between a parachute and a trampoline. At least a dozen of us were needed to hold it up. Little kids played and danced underneath the banner. There was a beautiful drawing of a mother holding a child on the top of the circular banner. Unless a person was close by, it was almost impossible to see the drawing, and that was a shame. Somebody decided to solve that problem by flying a drone directly over the circle. The drone hovered over the drawing, sending images to someone, somewhere. It was kind of cool in a way, but I also found it a bit disturbing. It’s one thing to have somebody nearby take a picture with a phone or a camera. It’s quite another to have somebody unknown to me take pictures by remote control.
We walked slowly through downtown to the Waukesha County Courthouse. The crowd flowed into the parking lot where other speakers were eager to encourage the demonstrators. As I arrived in the lot, I saw that the Socialists had set up a small folding table to display their books and pamphlets. I found that to be delightfully quaint. How many Marxists did they think were in the crowd? Did they really believe that somebody was going to buy a book with quotes from Castro? The whole thing was totally retro.
A young man who was with me told me of an encounter he had with a female Trump supporter. The interaction between the young man and the Trumpist occurred just prior to the march arriving at the courthouse. Apparently, the woman was deeply opposed to the rally and said,
“All immigrants need to be deported for the sake of humanity!”
The young man had responded to woman by saying, “Fuck off, Bitch!”
Sigh. This is a perfect example of the current level of political discourse in our society.
I am nostalgic for people like William F. Buckley Jr. and Ted Kennedy. I miss those days when people could actually speak intelligently about issues. I used to enjoy watching “Firing Line” on PBS. Does anybody still discuss important matters in a civil manner? I guess not.
A friend of mine once told me. “Never argue with an idiot. They will just drag you down to their level.”
Sound advice.

 

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