A few dozen very angry people on both sides of the immigration debate faced off outside the Capitol today, hurling bellicose insults and calling each other racists and fascists in two different languages. The occasion was a rally by the Minutemen in Senate Park, where leaders of that organization took turns bashing the president and the Senate for what they believe will be the ultimate passage of an "amnesty" for illegal immigrants.
Emotions were running very high as a group of about two dozen counter-protesters gathered 80 or so yards away and -- with the help of a bullhorn -- taunted the Minutemen with chants like, "You forgot your hoods!" and, "No Minutemen, no KKK, no fascists in the U.S.A.!" and so on.
"Go to hell!" shouted Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrest back at them. He called the protesters "proponents of anarchy, communism, and the true segregationists in this country."
Much of the Minutemen's ire was directed at the president, and some in the crowd shouted "Traitor!" when his name was mentioned. The Senate didn't fare much better. "They are literally going to shove amnesty down our throats," says Gilchrest of the pending legislation. He foretold of the emergence of a third-party president in 2008 if things keep going the way they are. Another speaker, John Clark, warned that anyone who votes for "amnesty... will be voted out of office. Period!" Gilchrest says the bill will lead to a "mobacracy." Supporters in the crowd of about 50 sported buttons that featured the president's face with a red slash though it that read, "George, you're fired!"
Other speakers warned of a "tsunami" of immigrants who will propagate so rapidly as to number 200 million in very short order. "This is a place where we salute the red, white, and blue. Not the red, white, and green!" declared Minuteman Stephen Eichler. An especially vitriolic speaker named Barbara Coe raised the prospect of armed revolution; "We will die on our feet before we submit on our knees!" she declared. A dog sported a button that read: "Got Papers?"
Nonetheless, Gilchrest asserted in a Q&A with reporters that the Minutemen "are not immigrant bashers."
At the conclusion of the rally, Minutemen and their supporters walked over to where the counter-protesters were demonstrating and the fun really started. If it weren't for a phalanx of Capitol police who formed a buffer between the two groups, we might have had us an old school riot.