Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The words and worlds of the Minuteman

Speech at Belmont University combines pro-immigrant vocabulary with mass exodus theory

Chris Simcox, President of the "Minuteman Civil Defense Corps," spoke at Belmont University in Nashville yesterday. He used a very pro-immigrant vocabulary. He spent time bemoaning the human suffering at the southern U.S. border. On multiple occasions, he emphasized that the northern and southern U.S. borders are at issue. At least at first, Simcox singled out drug-smuggling cartels as the real border enemy.

The focus then shifted to immigrants already inside the U.S. borders. Simcox argued that "your citizenship is being diluted" and identified cheap labor as the other dangerous U.S. addiction (drugs being the first). As for the 12 million or more visaless internationals in the U.S., Simcox said that neither deportation nor legalization would be appropriate governmental action toward them. The only proper response, according to Simcox, is to spark a mass exodus by "attrition" and "self-deportation." This issue - internal alien status resolution - is the only subject to warrant a blinking graphic on the group's web site, in the form of an anti-amnesty page, but it was not the primary subject of Simcox's prepared remarks. Nor was there any discussion of how attrition and self-deportation would keep from becoming the "misery strategy" described by the New York Times, or if failure of the exodus theory (and his group's "you've left us no choice" mood) would instead spark a darker trajectory.

Toward the end of the Q&A, one woman asked whether Simcox would take responsibility for the apparent tension in the room. His answer: all change is the product of tension.

Various comments from the podium appear below, with all but the first attributable to Simcox. Direct quotes appear in quotation marks.
  • "southern & northern border with Mexico" [sic] - from the introduction by the College Republicans representative

  • "comfort the afflicted"

  • "new standard for what it means to be American"

  • MCDC is not the same group as the Minuteman Project, a different group led by Jim Gilchrist, which has "pretty harsh rhetoric" and is "an embarrassment"

  • other "splinter groups" broke off from MCDC because of its "high standards"

  • "nation's largest neighborhood watch group"

  • "our volunteers are humanitarians"

  • "we are pro-immigration"

  • "not about being anti-immigrant"

  • "not about hate"

  • one of nation's greatest failures is letting people die in the desert and be sold into servitude

  • human beings seen as nothing more than "economic chattel"

  • multiple digs at executive and legislative branches of federal government - "incompetent," "you've left us no choice," "we are the government"

  • "we need to welcome immigrants"

  • "we need to make it easier for people to come to this country"

  • majority of immigants "come only for economic opportunities"

  • we must offer a welcome, a safe passage, and equal protection to the immigrant

  • "no human being is illegal"

  • has met families of victims of car accidents

  • does citizenship mean anything any more?

  • 1986 law "was a con"

Photo by Mauricio Balvanera. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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