MLK Day Protest

Happy We Hate Racism Day, everyone!

Thanks to ILAP‘s email list – to which apparently I have been subscribed for the last two years without ever receiving a single email – I found out about today’s march/rally/protest ostensibly in memory of MLK Jr., but more realistically against our proud new Tea Party Governor Paul LePage’s recent rescinding of an executive order regarding immigration. Not to get into the nitty gritty, but now any person going to a state employee for assistance or aid or in the course of daily life can be asked by said employee about his/her immigration status. Asked for papers!

When I imagine someone asking to see my papers, I imagine the scene in the beginning of Casablanca in which the Nazi/Vichy officers ask the Résistance guy for his papers, he stalls, runs away, and gets shot.

Is this the kind of state Paul LePage is trying to create?


So we gathered in front of City Hall, various religious and community leaders spoke, we jumped up and down to stay warm, and demonstrated our solidarity for MLK’s words against racism, hatred, fear, bigotry, and I’ll extend this to include ethnic nationalism of all varieties, xenophobia, supremacy, fear, and ignorance. We stood in solidarity with Maine’s thousands of refugees and immigrants, most legal, but all an integral and valued part of our community.

Buzzwords are dirty words, but as one of the least diverse states in the country, Maine should embrace what little we have rather than trying to scare it away or into submission. LePage and his “fearmongering” and intolerance need to be nipped in the bud. Like, yesterday.

For images, see recent tweets.


One thought on “MLK Day Protest

  1. I thought that demonstration today was a demonstration of neo-colonialism.
    The general question facing the NAACP is what its mission is today. Does “colored people” only refer to African-Americans? If it is not a special interest group (beholden to money sources, with institutional loyalties other than that of the citizen as such), then it is a booster of constitutional values, specifically of equality. The Global War on Terror and the US “special relationship” with Israel (I wonder if that’s what Governor LePage means by “special interest”) are the double-barrel shotgun of racism endangering the US (and thus the world) today.
    Not one word about it at the rally today. Not one word. The NAACP locally told me in person last Friday that reference would be made by Rev. Ken Lewis to MLK’s Riverside Church speech of 1967 “Beyond Vietnam”, and there was not a word from him about racism, militarism, . . . and what we heard about poverty–you were there, wouldn’t you call it all pretty lame–, no, keeping with biblical imagery, paralytic?
    You could have made a cute comment in your remarks above about how in Israel when they check your ID they can see not only that you’re a citizen or not, but what “nationality” you are (Jew, Druze, etc.).
    My suggestion about the ID checking by Maine state officials–prodded by the words of the woman from El Salvador who was emotionally sandwiched between the two heavy women on the platform who, judging from the one whose face I could see, were smirking the whole time, as if to say to this woman and the audience, “You know what you have to do.” I would say that if the state is to involve itself in the CIS (successor to INS) version of “don’t ask, don’t tell” (they do not actively search for illegal aliens, as of ten years ago when I took immigration law at law school), it has a duty to those it encounters to provide some sort of cushion, perhaps a wall of separation (what do they call that wall in Palestine?) by which, once they learn of an illegal alien’s presence, they would give the person six months or a year to normalize her status before they report her to CIS. I wonder if states have a duty to report to the CIS once they become aware of an illegal alien’s presence. I would think they have no more duty to rat someone out than the CIS has a duty to search high and low.
    That’s a pretty small issue compared to invading Iraq and Afghanistan and let’s not forget the proxy invasion by Ethiopia of Somalia (how about a survey of Maine Somalians to see how they liked that invasion?) for what reason? Something to do, surely, with Arabs, Africans, and Afghans not having the clout in Washington, DC, to match the clout of AIPAC and those good old WASP imperialists, to both of which lobbies race is destiny. I would have liked someone today to mention the word “haji”, which is what US troops call local people in Iraq and Afghanistan. What do Jews in Israel call Arabs as a reminder of their unchosenness?
    The local NAACP asked me why I was angry when I remonstrated about the contradiction of the published schedule with what was told me on the telephone about the Riverside/racist-war element. No, she simply condemned me for being angry. What had she done to merit my anger, she wanted to know. She would not tolerate it, she said.
    Can you get angry at someone, to paraphrase the rabbi’s invocation today, for not speaking at all? He said you have to be careful not to speak hurtfully.
    My slogan today: racism is suicidal. I’m told that people committing suicide shut themselves off a day or so before the act is consummated. That’s the indicator to look for in societies. I’d say that the speakers today who were shut off and those who weren’t–it was pretty clear to see.
    Generally speaking the newcomers who think they own Maine were not born here but there are exceptions to that generalization. Who is a Mainer? It’s someone who cares about Maine. Not the idea, but the place. Whatever is here. There is no book “Maine for Dummies”. There is no dummy Maine. There is only us.
    You know where the term “brazen” comes from? It means “made out of brass”, and I suspect it comes from the fact that polished brass has a warm, almost liquid, warmth to it, almost flesh-like. But brass doesn’t move. A brazen-faced liar talks but there is no motion in the face. They are reciting a script and being careful not to let any moment of truth distract them, no going to the edge of the abyss, no fearing God–I personally call it being rubber-faced.
    Rev. Ken Lewis said over and over “we shall not be moved”, and his face sure wasn’t moving. It wasn’t set like flint, either (another biblical image). It looked more like concrete.
    Whoever bought and paid for that demonstration, I sure enjoyed it.
    Racism is suicidal. Don’t you think Israel merited one little mention today, about racism and law and how the one spoils the other? Don’t we need a reminder that it can happen anytime anywhere? Don’t we need a reminder a thousand miles tall and ten thousand miles wide, that you can read from anywhere on the planet? Oh. I forget. We already have it. It’s called Israel. And though the fix is in, and they don’t want you to talk about it, you can still see it.
    The calculus obviously is that the intimidation will somehow not only make the disinfecting action (of free speech) ineffective but make the infection healthful.
    William Manchester’s book about Winston Churchill describes the old Duke dying of syphillis, a big slug of an abcess in his brain, sitting in proper dinner attire at the table with family and friends, slobbering into his soup. That’s the US and the Israel lobby, local, state, and national. Nobody notices a thing. There is no possible connection between that social oddity and England’s run of bad luck in the empire game. After all, they invented liberty.

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