Since I attended my second May Day protest at UC Davis last week,I now think myself qualified for a minor in child psychology.
Participants gathered in a circle and shook various rattles and noisemakers every time they heard something they liked,which,given how they shut out opposing views,was very often.They threw a small tantrum when the Davis College Republicans expressed their own free speech with a tiny counter-protest in favor of capitalism and the individual.But,proving they know how to win a debate,they gleefully pointed out that DCR had smaller signs than they did.
The night before May Day,a group of future protestors thought it a mature contribution to the campus debate to come and effectively steal DCR‘s club meeting pizza.Socialists often seem very ready to begin their vision of sharing with other people‘s stuff.They aren‘t being greedy,but instead promoting“equality.“ Of course,by“equality“ they mean equality of pizza distribution,not equality of pizza cost.
The capstone of their childish world view comes with how they begin every sentence:I want.
I want those who have worked harder than me to pay higher taxes.I want those who have organized their own health insurance to pay for mine.I want those who have planned their own retirements to plan for mine.I want to be able to have several children with neither a spouse nor a real job to support them,and instead simply demand a“living wage“ from my employers.
Yet their behavior proves a basic principle I have discovered in politics:the more certain people are that they are right,the sloppier they get.Why pay attention to your arguments or your image when you are100percent sure that you are right,and everyone who disagreeswith you is a heartless racist?
The irony,however,is that it is they who are keeping racism alive.Prior to the demonstration,they knocked wooden crosses into the ground around the MU Patio.I could not find a single name that was not Latino.Since pacifism was part of the catch-all protest that day,many crosses had war listed as the cause of death.But only those with the right sounding name earned a cross.People of other races were evidently not worth commemorating.
One of them shouted to my girlfriend,“Go back toEurope!” Well now.Let‘slook at what that really means.
The not-so-subtle implication is that my girlfriend,as half-Irish,half-Italian,does not belong inCalifornia.Of course,the Latino shouting at her does belong inCalifornia.The issue to the angry protestor is that people of the wrong skin color are on“her“ land.At its heart,this approach to the world is one defined by race – you better not live where your race does not belong.
This belief system reminds me of the Nazis‘ Generalplan Ost in World War II,their vision for anEastern Europe emptied of other peoples for good German stock to move in.I am not accusing the May Day protestors of being genocidal militarists.But they do seem to share a fantasy for the widespread expulsion ofother racesin favor of their own.
The racist protester feels she is justified because of the Mexican-American War,whichconcluded160years ago.That war was,in my opinion,the least justified war theUnited States ever fought,to its deep discredit.
But in the intervening century-and-a-half,a tremendous number of people moved into the territory thatAmerica gained.Very many of these people were themselves immigrants toAmerica who came several decades after the Mexican-American War – Swedes,Africans,Germans,Chinese,Japanese,Irish,Italians and many more.All of these peoples are to leave because of a centuries-old war,to leave because they are the wrong race to live in the land they love?
Now that‘s a childish demand.
ROB OLSON would love to“go back toEurope“ with his girlfriend if the May Day protestors will foot the bill.He will,however,return after a month or so.Interested donors can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.