Gilchrist: No racism here!

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  1. I only know one Minuteman personally. This individual is one of the most upstanding individuals I’ve every known, so to the extent that he represents the organization as a while I’d have to disagree with your use of the tar brush.
    Even so, I’m wary of “freelance law enforcement groups” like the Minutemen because they are like loose cannons rolling around on the deck of a warship.
    The essential point here is that the Feds need to start doing their jobs. This means securing the border and creating a guest worker system that works. Bush, like in so many other ways, has failed completely at this. Not that Clinton helped much either.

  2. Polimom,
    I agree with you that persons of good faith and character can be unhappy with the decades long bipartisan failure of the federal government to control our southern border. I also agree that when persons of good faith and character band together to form a citizens group to take action to address their concerns, there is danger that persons with less good faith and outright bad character may also join the movement.
    However I disagree with the thrust of your last few paragraphs. To me they imply that because some racists/xenophobes/etc., have joined the Minutemen then the whole organization (and movement?) is “poisoned”. The implication is that they should disband, since they can not prevent racists from joining, and because some of the Minutemen are racists, the whole organization and its message is therefore tainted and untrustworthy.
    To me, that’s too high a standard. Other organizations that discover racists in their ranks or leadership don’t disband. Examples are police, the military, or for that matter the Democratic and Republican parties. Organizations that value their reputations more than the additional members dues and sheer numbers of members make every effort to purge themselves of racist members, or at least to limit the damage the racists can do to the organization by removing them from leadership and/or public contact positions.
    You are not trying to tar all members of the Minutemen with the charge of racism. However, Gilchrist is accusing Ruben Navarrette Jr. of doing exactly that, in an attempt to discredit Gilchrist’s movement and its message through ad hominem attack, rather than engaging in debate on the merits.
    I can’s say that Gilchrist is wrong with his charge. Perhaps more of an acknowledgement of the organization’s “racists problem” from him is in order, but I can understand why he might not have wanted to weaken his rebuttal with it.

  3. Had there been only one or two incidents, or even groups, I’d probably agree with the Master… but there haven’t. There’ve been many. It’s not one or two people; many of the groups themselves grew out of baser motives (the SLPC has a lot of information).
    But Marc, while I was definitely saying that the groups are tainted because of their association with white supremacist groups, I deliberately noted that there are people involved with these militias who are not motivated in the same way. But impressions matter… and the reputations of the racists have definitely affected things.

  4. During the “vietnamese boat people” incidents in this area in the early/mid-1980s, I was a member of an organization called Civil Air Patrol (the official USAF Auxiliary.) One of the KKK/militia sympathizers was also the commander of a local CAP squadron. When his name came up affiliated with the KKK/militia, the CAP suspended him pending an investigation (to make sure he had not co-mingled the CAP and his ‘extra’ activities.) He complained to one of the local papers (we had two at the time), and the resulting firestorm almost brought down the organization-nationally (there was some talk in Congress of pulling the Congressional charter which allowed CAP to operate.)
    Mind you, there was no evidence whatsoever that this person had committed racist acts in the name of CAP, or while wearing the uniform. There was no evidence whatsoever that CAP as an organization had prior knowledge of, or any sort of involvement with, his ‘extra’ activities. It was simply one reporter, and his editor, who made sure and searched out and reported any and all negative connections between CAP and whatever badness was going on (“… and this accused mass murderer was a CAP cadet when he was 12 years old” – no mention of the fact that he was kicked out for pulling the wings off of flies.)
    So, while I certainly understand Polimom’s position here (it came damn close to costing me my job at the time, and it certainly strained relations between me and my church), I for one will denounce any and all efforts to paint an organization like the Minutemen with a broad brush, based on the actions/bizarreness of a few of their members. Sort of like I won’t call the African-American churches in Houston racist, just because the KKK endorsed their position regarding gay rights several years ago.
    I will, however, wholly second (third?) the positions of Marc and The Master: the federal government needs to step up and do its job of protecting and securing our borders. Until such a time as that is done, I don’t want to hear diddly squat about “comprehensive” immigration reform – because without borders that don’t resemble Swiss cheese, there can be no “reform”, as any who are “legalized” will simply be replaced by the next batch to come across. That is a lesson we should have learned from the 80s.

  5. Anyone who is concerned about illegal imigration is racist. Jeez….
    I have no problem with imigrants, my grandparents were imigrants. But the ones coming here in droves specially across our southern border aren’t playing by the same rules as you or I. They probably don’t pay income or social security taxes. They are overwhelming our healthcare, education and legal systems. But if any of us protest we are racists.

  6. roux — you really don’t see a difference between militia groups like the Minutemen, and the many other people who are concerned about illegal immigration?
    They look quite different to me (which is why I didn’t say that…); I’m surprised you see it that way.

  7. Actually they are really doing something about it. They are on the border exposing the fact that illegals are pouring in almost unabated.
    I work at a hospital and we are being overwhelmed. Just wait until you won’t have access to an emergency room when you need it most.
    You need to wake up.

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