I left feeling hopeful and energized. Social movements take time and not every day will be a celebration but there is real power here. There were both citizens and immigrants legal and "illegal" all together to work to make the US a more compassionate, welcoming and diverse place.
Thanks for the update, and I appreciate what you're doing.
Ask my 12 year old son what he thought of the protest, and he will tell you about the Nazi's. That is what he talked about last night and this morning.
Yes, there were real live Nazi's there, dressed in black or camoflauge, with confederate flags and that newfangled three-pronged neo-Nazi symbol. I counted nine of them, but they were surrounded by about 30 police officers.
There was a crowd around them to taunt them. My son begged insistantly -- "let me go yell at the Nazi's". He is sometimes too much like me. But, as it was clearly safe, we went over to see.
I felt kind of bad for them-- standing there looking foolish. They had a couple of hand-written signs, nothing even particularly strong or hateful ("Mexicans belong in Mexico" is what I remember). But surrounded by police they looked harmless, even impotent.
Facing them were a crowd which grew to perhaps 200 people. It was a mixed crowd of dark-skinned South Americans, with brawny guys with Irish flags and even a group of men in yarmelke.
Just as we arrived in the square, a group of young white men were chanting a rhyme that ended with "...Nazi scum go to hell". But as the crowd grew, the chanced changed to singing "Ole, Ole ole ole.... olay.... olay...."
The Nazis stood there looking rather out of place... in fact they looked rather like a museum exhibit, surrounded by security gaurds. With children playing nearby.
Someone in the crowd yelled "Nazi, where is your [American] flag? We have our flags" (and this was true, the crowd was filled with red white and blue flags). But one of them was prepared and unfolded his own American flag.
At this point the crowd cheered! Spontaneously the crowd, Latinos, Europeans, Blacks, Jews, Irish natives and immigrants-- we all erupted into cheers of "USA! USA! USA!" We were celebrating, we were inviting them to join us in cheering for this great country.
This seems to have been too much for them... They conferred for a moment, smiled sheepishly and then turned and left... followed by the 30 police officers who had been guarding them.
My son was puzzled, he had never seen Nazi's before. He wanted to yell at them, but ended up seeing that celebrating the values of the country, in the face of hatred was much more powerful.
But I wonder if they know that they were more than entertainment for a celebratory and boisterous crowd... they were a learning moment in the life of a young boy.
ebrown - your tale brought a tear to my eye..... that's just beautiful!
Great account, ebrown_p.
Your post about your son was chilling. In a good way.
Thank you - for going, and reporting.
Fabulous! What a moment for you and your son, e_brown. Thanks for sharing.