Are they patriots or fear mongers?
Given the polarized state of American politics on just about any issue, there are two diametrically opposed ways of looking at a meeting that took place Friday morning (May 9) at the Spinning Wheel restaurant in Paradise.
You might have seen that meeting as a group of American patriots gathered to hear Chris Simcox, co-founder of the Minuteman Project, sound the alarm about the threat posed by hordes of illegal Mexican immigrants pouring across our borders, raping American women, committing untold and numberless crimes, stealing jobs from hard-working Americans, filling up American prisons with freeloading criminals, and concealing in their midst untold numbers of potential terrorists from the Middle East who may be armed with nuclear devices they intend to employ against the infidels.
In the view of the Minutemen, the need for border vigilantism arose because our politicians are too cowardly, too corrupt, too liberal, or too incompetent to deal with this threat.
On the other hand, and from the other end of the political spectrum, what you might have seen was a small group of racist xenophobes, mostly retirees with too much time and too little sense, gathered to have their fears fed by Simcox, a former Los Angeles schoolteacher who has exchanged that low-profile job for the more heady realm of occasional interviews with CNN’s Lou Dobbs, the patron saint of those who see poor Mexican workers who come to pick our crops and wipe the butts of our elderly in nursing homes as the source of all that ails the American empire.
From this perspective, Simcox was brought to Butte County to spread fear as a means of plumping up the political ambitions of Dan Logue, a guy who hopes to ride those fears into a job in the California Assembly. He is running against Sue Horne in the June 3 Republican primary, and the winner of that race will run against Mickey Harrington, the Democratic candidate, in the general-election race for the seat currently held by Assemblyman Rick Keene, who has termed out.
Logue has made the issue of border security the centerpiece of his campaign because, in his view, the biggest problem facing the district he hopes to represent is the nation’s failure to secure its borders.
About a dozen citizens turned out to hear the Logue and Simcox presentation, their numbers augmented by a half-dozen local media people.
Wearing cowboy boots and sporting a gunfighter’s mustache, Logue told those assembled that the immigration issue is not about race, but about law. “Millions of people are coming across the border illegally, including people from Korea, Syria, and other terrorist countries. A stinger missile can easily be smuggled in a backpack.”
In Logue’s view, the United States has too many magnet programs that attract illegal immigration to this country. He wants to tighten up on welfare programs across the board. “We’re going to secure our borders in spite of liberal judges who legislate from the bench, and in spite of attacks from outfits like the ACLU,” he said. “Call us mean-spirited, call us hard-hearted, but were going to stand up for America first.”
In fact, Logue said, “lots of illegals are coming here with the desire to get into our prisons. It’s a career move for many of them. … They get three square meals a day and free health care. It’s a good deal.”
Those who support illegal immigration have a secret agenda, he explained: “[T]hey want a shift in public funding toward collectivism … [and] to turn this country into a collectivist state. … That’s why Obama wants to open our borders.”
Simcox took over where Logue left off.
He described his organization as people who believe in individualism, liberty, and personal responsibility. “Somewhere around 50 years ago we began to create a nanny state in this country. Of the three candidates we have to choose from in this year’s presidential campaign, none has the courage to militarize our borders and go after the criminal syndicates that operate there.”
A man in the audience called out, “No more immigrants, period. We’ve got enough people here as it is.”
Simcox smiled. “We are armed, locked, and loaded,” he said, and then smiled again. “So to speak. And were going to send Dan Logue and people like him to work for the good of the American people.”
For his part, Logue added: “I don’t need the work, and I don’t need the money, but they’re trying to shoot this guy"—he nodded toward Simcox—"just for carrying our message. It’s the teachers trying to deny us access to college campuses, not the students. The media has decided, along with the DNC and the RNC, to ignore this issue, so our focus has turned to state and local government.”
Logue enjoys the support of such high-profile local Republicans as state Sen. Sam Aanestad, retired state Sen. Tim Leslie, and Keene. They are united in their tenacious fight against liberalism, in the words of Logue’s campaign fliers, and staunchly opposed, in Keene’s words, to the billions we waste on illegal immigrants. They would rather spend that money to deploy thousands of National Guard troops on our southern border, and to build hundreds upon hundreds of miles of fence.
Ironically, of the sections of that fence built thus far, much of the labor has been done by contractors employing undocumented workers.