Apr 102006
 
Authors: Tyler Wittman

People, ladies and gentlemen, are stupid. I’m not expecting a trophy or anything but I’m onto something. I was hoping the events that led me to this conclusion were some kind of build-up to the greatest April Fools joke ever, but I was wrong. It’s April 11 now and all April Fools jokes have to be divulged by April 2 or else you are fair game for emotional, physical and/or verbal damage. It’s written down somewhere. So what’s the big deal?

Recently, someone opened a really big can of “espiritu de la raza” and people of Mexican descent, U.S. citizens and Mexicans alike, started foaming at the mouths. This can, of course, is the proposed immigration bill that’s been tabled for the time being. All over the nation it spawned hordes of Latinos and illegal aliens protesting immigration laws and calling for more immigrant rights. This is just fine, what ensued is not.

There were instances of protestors, on U.S. soil, raising Mexican flags over upside- down U.S. flags. Additionally, they burned U.S. flags, called all U.S. citizens “illegal aliens,” called our president a “terrorist” (he’s even on their side), and generally involved themselves in offenses that warrant arrest. I take it they hate America and civility because if that’s not their point, then what is?

In Colorado, the debate ceased to be at Skyline High School, where a good number of students threw flags in each others’ faces, used racial epithets and acted like complete fools. In response, Skyline principal Tom Stumpf banned the display of any flag. I’m sorry Mr. Stumpf, but your problems aren’t going to go away with some asinine stumping of free speech. Old Glory’s not at fault here, idiots are.

Immigration is a political issue with serious consequences for a vast population in this country, so the tension is understandable. The fact that high schoolers are going to make it into an issue of race instead of politics is disappointing but to be expected. What’s not understandable is the bedlam this issue has caused outside of schools. Let me say I slightly understand the prevalence of Mexican flags as a unifying symbol of culture during this whole ordeal. What I don’t understand is how you reason asking a country to keep you around after burning its flag, flying it below yours and upside down, calling its citizens and president names, etc. This is like punching someone in the face and asking them out on a date; it’s not the best means to an end (and if they accept, stay away).

It seems in Dallas the protestors took up the image of Che Guevara as another unifying symbol. The Mexican flag I can understand, a mass murderer I cannot. I suppose the counter protestors could wear Ted Bundy shirts. The messages most Americans are seeing from these protests are that Mexico is superior to the United States, communism is better than democracy, and being a psychopathic mass murderer makes you a hero. Tact was obviously left out very early in the planning stages of these protests.

The right to protest is a fundamental right in this country and I fully support it. White kids throwing things at Latinos and calling them names is despicable, so is burning our flag and applying for a visa. The only thing we’ve learned through the fallout of a hot topic in Washington is that people have an uncanny capacity for idiocy; Whites, Latinos, principals, everyone. All parties involved need to take a few steps back and proceed with a little more respect, reason and civility. Is that so hard?

Tyler Wittman is a senior majoring in speech communication. His column runs every Tuesday in the Collegian.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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