Columnist Ruben Navarrette recently wrote about protestors’ eruption of violence during a speech by Minutemen founder Jim Gilchrist. In a nutshell, Navarrette affirmed what the vast majority of people feel: you’re free to spout off like a nutcase (or a yahoo in a chair with a beer), and Americans will defend your right to do so.
This morning, Gilchrist responded, and he sounds pretty ticked off (CNN):
ORANGE COUNTY, California (CNN) — On October 12, Ruben Navarrette Jr. penned a pompous commentary for CNN.com (“Minutemen have a right to be idiotic”). His litany of name-calling and bogus accusations against The Minuteman Project membership places him solidly in the category of propagandist journalists who “spin” their stories to suit their bias — valid facts and objectivity be damned.
Navarrette is a clever wordsmith. Under the penumbra of supporting free speech, he creates a wholly fictitious connection between The Minuteman Project and the Nazis who wanted to march in Skokie, Illinois, in the late 1970s, leading his uncritical readers to false assumptions and conclusions. Navarrette calls The Minuteman Project viewpoint “offensive speech” and says the project promotes inaccuracy, intolerance and idiocy.
Wading through the hyperbolic verbiage (pompous! penumbra!), his problem boils down to this:
Of course, there are European-Caucasian members. Ah-hah! In the twisted perception of the propagandist journalist, any organization with at least one white person must be, ipso facto, a racist organization.
In fact, The Minuteman Project is a multiethnic, pro-legal immigration, law enforcement advocacy group. Minuteman volunteers are teachers, college professors, taxi drivers, truckers, construction laborers, lawyers, college students, CPAs, surgeons and physicians, retired police officers, veterans, homemakers, authors, PhDs, politicians, grandparents, and naturalized citizens — Americans who simply want to help protect their country from the problems of illegal immigration.
I’ve written about Gilchrist and the Minutemen before, (here and here.) For purposes of this post, though, I’m going to give Gilchrist the benefit of the doubt and assume that he truly wants his organization to be non-racist… because what he wants, or maybe even truly believes, is completely beside the point.
I have no doubt that there are well-intentioned people — homemakers, professors, lawyers, grandparents, and all — interested in efforts to secure the borders; one does not have to be a white supremacist to be concerned. But the entire militia movement is hopelessly tangled and irretrievably tainted by the racist rhetoric, and protestations to the contrary won’t change that.
The truth of the matter is the illegal immigration topic has flushed all sorts of white supremacist creepy-crawlies from beneath their rocks. They’re not just supportive of groups like the Minutemen, they’re directly involved. They’ve been drawn like moths to that southern border, where (they say) a “brown enemy” is threatening the sanctity and security of a mythically “pure white race”.
Did I say tainted? I meant poisoned, and all the antivenin in the world won’t save these groups — any of them — from the damage. Their credibility and motives are rightfully challenged due to what is, at the very least, an association with some very twisted, reprehensible ideologies.
And I really can’t believe he doesn’t see that.