Dispatches from the New Culture War
Twenty years ago the crux of the primary culture war was abortion. Today, it is illegal immigration and border security. Our definition of war is, an issue over which people are willing to sacrifice personal comfort, hit the streets and put their personal safety on the line. This is the situation in Montgomery County:
Schreiman, a Gaithersburg resident, said the Minutemenâ€™s Maryland chapter formed about six weeks ago and has about 100 members who already were involved with the groupâ€™s Scottsdale, Ariz.,-based headquarters. He said surveillance of the Wheaton day laborer center, which is funded in part by Montgomery County, started last week when Minutemen photographed contractors who drove into the centerâ€™s parking lot on University Boulevard West to pick up day workers, men who are primarily Latino...
While the Minutemen are taking a stealthy approach, Casaâ€™s response will be quite the opposite.
â€˜â€˜We are going to target them in a specific way,â€ said Executive Director Gustavo Torres. Casa representatives will go out with cameras and video cameras to record the Minutemen, but that will only be the first step, he said.
â€˜â€˜Then we are going to picket their houses, and the schools of their kids, and go to their work,â€ Torres said. â€˜â€˜If they are going to do this to us, we are going to respond in the same way, to let people know their neighbors are extremists, that they are anti-immigrant. They are going to hear from us.â€
Reminiscent of the argument that those who oppose abortion secretly hate women's freedom (or, simply hate women), the new version claims those who wish to enforce the immigration laws are hateful, inhospitable and racist.
More, below the fold.
In Virginia, the Herndon Observer editorial weighs in with a classic expression of the new canard:
The whole operation smacks of unfriendliness, and does not promote a community image that town leaders endorse...
While the majority of Herndon residents do not endorse the tactics of the Minutemen, it was a big deal last week for the group to host the national founders of the movement. If you agree with what the Minutemen are doing, it lends legitimacy to the effort. If you're opposed, it probably makes the whole thing seem more petty than ever.
We received criticism at The Observer for covering the meeting at all, given its threatening and hate-filled overtones. But I believe Herndon residents should have an opportunity to clearly see what their neighbors are up to, and what they believe.
The fact that some Herndon residents endorse aggressive, racial-profiling tactics to solve a policy problem in the town is something of which every resident should be keenly aware...
We can't simply look away when our neighbors put serious energy into actions that we think are deplorable. We can't just assume that these beliefs will fade away if we just don't give them any press. Solving problems in the community begins with understanding of what the problems are. If our problem is racism, what is the solution?
A letter writer warns that Herndon officials are missing critical danger signs:
Shenandoah Valley is a wake up call for Herndon. A similar policy of uncontrolled and unchecked illegal alien migration to Rockingham County established gang violence and rampant drug trafficking.
This conflict could turn out to be more inflammatory than the battles over abortion, for the simple reason that more people are directly affected by it in their everyday lives. The right to an abortion is, for most people, a right to a hypothetical experience. The foot soldiers in the current culture war are battling over conditions they see right in front of their faces.
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