Wednesday, May 02, 2007

May Day

The ubiquitous John Caldera (above), a member of the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Commission, hosted a "Mission Accomplished Revisited" rally in front of the Veterans Building on Van Ness to "remind all Americans of the farce and disgrace the White House has brought upon our great nation."

The speaker above was an Iraq War veteran, either from the first Bush invasion or both invasions, I wasn't quite sure. Over the weekend an amazingly calm and blunt radio address was given by retired Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army. To read the entire short address, click here. The heart of his address is as follows:
"To put this in a simple army metaphor, the Commander-in-Chief seems to have gone AWOL, that is 'absent without leave.' He neither acts nor talks as though he is in charge. Rather, he engages in tit-for-tat games.

"Some in Congress on both sides of the aisle have responded with their own tits-for-tats. These kinds of games, however, are no longer helpful, much less amusing. They merely reflect the absence of effective leadership in a crisis. And we are in a crisis.

"Most Americans suspect that something is fundamentally wrong with the President's management of the conflict in Iraq. And they are right.

"The challenge we face today is not how to win in Iraq; it is how to recover from a strategic mistake: invading Iraq in the first place. The war could never have served American interests."

A block away in Civic Center Plaza, the remnants of a crowd that had marched from Dolores Park for a May Day Immigration March was listening to speeches and music.

Mayor Gavin Newsom gave a remarkably pandering speech around 4PM of the sort that gives anti-illegal-immigrant conservatives like Lou Dobbs apoplexy.

He droned on in that corporate/nonprofit foundation style of oratory where "Diversity" Is Next To Godliness...

...pointing out to the crowd that "San Francisco is proud of its Diversity, and you can be any race here, and any religion, and any sexual orientation, and any," here he paused, "status."

This elicited a huge cheer from the crowd, but I was momentarily puzzled. "Status?" Did he mean HIV Status? Then I realized he meant Immigration Status, with no difference in the treatment of legals and illegals. That should really get Lou Dobbs' panties in a bunch.

Newsom was mercifully followed by a great band playing what sounded like a mixture of rock and roll with norteno music.

For a more nuanced and sympathetic account of the immigration protest marches, click here for "Happening-Here," where Jan Adams photoblogs an event in Oakland...

...and Willie Morrissey plays serious devil's advocate when he praises Immigration and the Jesuits for ratting out a Salvadoran death squad killer (click here).

1 comment:

sfwillie said...

Thanks for the mention, Michael.

My theme is: Discrepancy between policy and practice indicates deficient leadership, and creates opportunities for the strong to injure the weak with impunity.

The U.S. constitution (as amended) does not allow for second class citizenship. But that is exactly what "undocumented status" is.

Achieving justice for those currently involved is a simple task compared to that of creating a policy (immigration law)that we agree to vigorously enforce (which would include keeping convicted right-wing death-squaders out).

These are two separate issues.