Minutemen, Privileged Students Scrimmage at Columbia University : Published October 2006 All Rights Reserved

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Minutemen, Privileged Students Scrimmage at Columbia University

Marion D. S. Dreyfus

The Minutemen Project, normal citizens from all across the United States, comprises of a group who took it upon themselves to monitor the southwestern border and report the flagrant incursions of huge numbers of Mexicans (and other Central and South Americans) through the vast, shared Mexico/United States border known for its bruising desert, its sand, its arid hard-scrabble wasteland...and a few federal officials who enforce immigration policy.

Whether it is for economic reasons or from a government policy that makes it difficult to train and station official personnel -- or some as-yet-un-clarified reason, the number of border guards assigned to this vast stretch (some 1,200 miles) remains inadequate to prevent nightly mobs of motley fleet-footed non-citizens trying to breach U.S.-shores and borders without documentation.

Why shouldn’t the United States throw-open its doors to millions of unwanted and non-self-supporting undefined?  No country in the world permits the unfettered encroachment of the undocumented. Many countries in the Middle East and Eastern Europe as well as across Africa immediately incarcerate any hapless soul, tourist, insurgent, or newcomer who enters without visa, express documentation or extensive papers permitting entry and guaranteeing exit or full-time employment.

"Another melee at Columbia University  where education used to be paramount, but now it is replaced by lack of decorum, hooliganism, public brawls, and egg- throwing wannabe scrimmagers..."
- author Marion D.S. Dreyfus

Marion Dreyfus
Marion D. S. Dreyfus is a writer and poet who can be found in caffeine-like mode, taking-on a range of subjects as far afield as safari hunting to routinely inaccurate international media. Dreyfus taught at four universities in the People's Republic of China and hosted a radio show in the Hubei province. "Will edit for chocolate," she says.
Though the official figure of southern invaders into the United States has been stated as 12 million, knowledgeable officials say the figure is much closer to 20 million. In addition perhaps, to those working illegally for contractors forbidden to officially hire them, these millions bleed the country of illegitimate welfare, of medical benefits—particularly emergency room services for which they pay nothing -- they claim without right, massive educational services to which they are not entitled, and city services in general.

These illegals have come close to bankrupting the southwestern states that have absorbed the majority of this incursion: Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California. Within short order, neighboring states then  ‘inherited’ the hordes of spill-overs, and conditions there have, in flash-time, deteriorated too. Senators and state representatives are seeking governmental help to stem and halt the human tide that threatens to unbalance the status of numerous states and federal politics.

Why do these desperate runners brave the starvation and thirst, and possible death, to sneak into the sovereign country to their north? Some come for fast, easy money not possible to find in [President] Vicente Fox’s Mexico. Some come to leave disadvantageous living conditions in several of the countries in the Central American isthmus. Some come to sell drugs and to market other controlled substances. Some come for reasons that warrant close examination from national security. But that responsibility falls upon local police and municipalities that are already stretched to the limit.

And some come for reasons not altogether clear, if not altogether altruistic, occasioning headaches and high anxiety in a post-9/11 world.

Jim Gilchrist and Marvin Stewart and some hundreds of other volunteers took it upon themselves to guard those desolate reaches where nightly incursions have taken place.

These Minutemen sit in trucks along the border reaches using binoculars to scan the horizon;  they report hasty invaders who are ducking under concertina wire or haphazard fencing to the authorities who then send the trespasser back to country of origin.

For their trouble, the Minutemen have been called vigilantes -- a misused term according to its convential Merriam-Webster meaning. Or racists, another term laughably irrelevant,  again not in accord with how Webster would define the term.  There is nothing racist about protecting one’s border against an illegal insurgency that comes in waves without paying freight or applying for permits.

On the other side of the ledger, large United States agricultural interests strive to encourage such crossing for one simple reason: Money. Although contrary to law those who hire non-citizens, especially in agribusinesses, employers pay sub-par wages to these brand-new hands and feet. The undocumented gladly labor for substantially less than American workers can afford. They work for far less than the minimum wage, though obviously earn far more than they would earn in the mismanaged shambles of Mexico’s economy.

Employers pay no benefits, provide the most wretched of shelter, and concern themselves only with gathering the harvest of fruit, vegetables, corn, cotton, and a host of often backbreaking work that through its very nature would necessitate medical, vacation, and child-care benefits.

These aliens usually speak no English, ask for nothing--and get nothing; they are presumably satisfied with whatever rate is provided by their new employers, and they don’t seek benefits. Some have payroll taxes deducted from their pay packets, which end up in federal accounts. Those deductions may not be returned at some future date, because the workers do not have a tangible Social Security record in which to place these presumed disbursements. Such deductions are, however, only a drop in the bucket compared to the costs of supporting such unregistered recipients.

The Democratic Party, too, encourages this trafficking in humans for partisan concerns. They assume the new migrants may become Democrats upon becoming citizens. Many Democrats back these mass migrations into the United States in order to boost their putative numbers from the almost 50-50 split that represents U.S.-polity today, as evidenced by recent elections, where winners win by a hair’s breadth.

Minutemen founder Gilchrist had been invited to speak at Columbia University in Manhattan -- by the Columbia Republican Club, headed by student Christopher Eric Kulawik. Several others, supportive of the Minutemen, were on hand to speak to the SRO crowd at Columbia’s Lerner Hall on W. 114th and Broadway. They barely got a chance.

The crowd reached capacity, about 200 people, mostly students and a few front-row representatives of the press, or some who chose to be separated for whatever reason from the students sitting behind a slim rope divide. I was sitting on the first row -- middle seat.

Screaming radicals interrupted the distinguished Minuteman Marvin Stewart's every second sentence. Interruption rose to such a crescendo that even with his microphone the tall, African-American's speech could not be heard. After his presentation, in which he referred to the Constitution and the Bible throughout his 50-minute address, the ferocious crowd of T-shirt wearing and be-jeans-clad conforming non-conformists stood-up and turned their backs on speaker Stewart.

About 40 percent of the audience stayed in their seats, decorous and un-raucous, presumably those were campus members of the GOP club itself and their supportive contingent. Many simply wanted to hear what the speakers had to say.

Outside the building, demagogic rallying was taking place at the sacrifice of truth and fact to expedient rabble-rousing sloganeers.

Inside the hall -- yelling rose to a painful decibel. These people countered any attempt to shush-them with a snide "Or what? You gonna shoot me?"

Irony didn’t suit this screaming, invective-hurling, paper-tossing, stage-grabbing, disrespectful, heedless, punch-throwing, insult-flinging group of dissidents. The first reaction to anyone who disagreed with them was...violence in various permutations, followed by a faux-threat assumption that the open-thinker might take a gun and kill them. (Another case of the accuser being more likely to blame innocents for what they themselves were perpetrating.)

I was appalled.

I asked "security" why they had not arrested these violent punks, especially those who broke furniture and ripped-up the stage in an attempt to attack the speakers. As everything was on videotape, why would the university not suspend these miscreants, who demonstrated more ignorance of sociopolitical realities than they did a delight in thumping their own scrawny chests in loud tantrum mode?  Their mindless shouting avoided anything like fact, knowledge of history or acknowledgment of the Constitution. It was a given that they had little patience for citations from the Bible.

Security  --paid for by the Republican club--  finally managed to toddle up to the pandemonium onstage and only replied to my questions by mumbling. Some inane responses included: "We aren't real police;" "We're just hired..." and "We really don't know anything about this..."

Yet, before the event, they were police enough to disallow backpacks, confiscate trays of eggs, and almost refused to allow this correspondent to attend even with my press and CUNY faculty credentials.

As the brawl continued onstage --with a counter-protest group assembling onstage to protect speakers Stewart and Gilchrist-- a small group of some 10 people stood to the side of the shambles, and firmly held their ground near the stage, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Following all components of action in the room became difficult, as so much was going on, with factions and counter-factions swinging away, or trying to defend freedom of speech, chairs falling, tables overturning, curtains ringing down suddenly, and security deciding the time had come to close the proceedings down.

I was not hurt. But the noise level was deafening. The diffident student next to me confided: "I am ashamed that I go to Columbia." She said that, "As a California girl," she "was used to this," but when the sloppy campus Stalinists stormed the stage and started ripping things up, slamming the podium and ripping off the microphones of speakers, her mouth fell open and she shook her head in disbelief.

This observer thought the banners in English, Spanish, and Arabic were telling. What does Arabic have to do with this skirmish and Minutemen watch-dogging? Precisely what did the Arabic segment of the banner really mean?

Someone told a few of us that the Arabic portion of the banner did not read, "There are no illegals," but "The Holocaust never happened." If that was the case, another note was added to the complexity of the event: A chilling note of Jihadism, whose latest meretricious plaint, given voice most recently by autocrat and Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was that "The Holocaust probably didn’t happen." If the translation was about the Holocaust and not immigration, the brazen Stalinist rioters are involved with large-scale student leftist and fascistic intent far removed from just this issue alone.

And this gives one even more reason to pause: How knowledgeable are the dissonant rabbles about the underpinnings of their own sponsors? Where does the money come from? Who is backing these strange protests, which are thousands of miles, and dozens of job ladders, away from the lives of these privileged few at Columbia?

Perhaps the Arabic scrawl did not translate into the disreputable and inciting slogan that was communicated to us.

These were anarchists, the same crowd who come in to most of these one-time peaceful protests and squirt violence over everything and everyone. At rock concerts, I always wear ear packing. But for this informational talk, I was not prepared for the din and roar of these squalling delinquents throughout the entire presentation of the two speakers.

After the ugly scatology, nonstop insults and turning their backs on the speaker, these infants of papa's income were annoyed that the next speaker, the decorated border soldier,  Gilchrist, had the cajones to call them tyrants and petty despots.

The term ayatollahs, is superior--they don't listen; they only destroy.

Gilchrist barely got onto the stage. After no more than a minute on the microphone, he was assaulted by the surge of the Stalinists onto the stage. Their raised arms, flailing fists, yellow banners, and scruffy vandal mindset was sustained by toothless, constipated security guards. Columbia’s president Lee Bollinger failed to provide security to fit the need, and he has stonewalled when approached by news media and students who ask him why he failed to guard the speakers.

Questions for these students:

I was, frankly, puzzled, except for their backgrounds as children of privilege, and maybe some on scholarship (i.e., not very scholarly and in by the skin of their diversity teeth) students, some diversity's little step-siblings. Are they are acting the part  of an (exciting) mob -- to be part of the "Oh yeah, we really cut-it-up when we went to school" crowd?

One woman I told to "shut the hell up,” was screaming at the top of her lungs "Wrap it up! You don't know nothin'!" She demanded to know if I was going "to shoot" her. I was interested in these violent thugs being so quick to ask me -- respectfully silent in the front--  if I would shoot them, when they were throwing articles and destroying the stage in attempt to silence the two speakers. 

What kind of hooligan, non-education is Columbia promoting? Other respected colleges in New York City are not like these Columbia fester flingers.

People departed at the descent of the curtain and the impotent corralling of the useless campus comedy relief. Several people heard my reaction to some Delta minuses uttering idiocies in the general neighborhood with my earshot, and stuck microphones in my face. Several Schmoo creatures tried to argue with me, but were clearly outclassed by speed of response, facts, untrammeled articulateness and furious righteousness. They slunk away, making excuses.

Now I fully understand why friends and colleagues of "other" persuasions are so concerned that claques of supporters come when they address these academic-slug-fests.

Where is our First Amendment?


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