Love Trumps Hate
What a weekend! In case you didn’t hear, there was a protest at Main Beach. A few people showed up. Couple of camera crews. Some cops. Apart from that, pretty much the whole world.
Yep, Laguna got her close-up, and it wasn’t entitled teens bitching about their love lives around a bonfire.
This time it was a monumental declaration of love against hate. Never mind the stated intent of the America First rally, whose participants came to protest illegal immigration while somehow forgetting they are immigrants too. This group would have you believe that illegal immigrants constitute a violent scourge on our streets, when statistics show its actually legal citizens who are more violent.
But protest they did, choosing Laguna because, as one organizer explained in a YouTube video, “Laguna is a very left-wing city where many are wealthy donors to George Soros backed operations.” Nonetheless, he said he likes to visit here too. Yep, we’ll take your money. Why do you think we’re so rich? He vowed to “hit the left where it hurts, because Laguna Beach is ground zero, and just as liberal as Berkeley.” Well now, let’s not get carried away.
Protesting illegal immigration is certainly an exercise in free speech, and at its core not necessarily racist. But in other videos this same guy claims that Jews are sodomizers, pedophiles, homosexuals, and against Jesus. So, while he does not call himself a Nazi, excuse me if I dismiss him and his like as racist propagators of hate.
He calls himself a cultural nationalist and Christian. But he’s neither. Wikipedia says cultural nationalism “encompasses the feelings of cultural pride that people have in a society. This society is typically an ethnically diverse makeup of people who have common cultural beliefs and a common language but not a common race or ancestry. Hence, the ideas and feelings of cultural nationalism are built upon shared cultural ideals and norms among a society.”
And we all know what true Christian values are, despite that no evangelical leaders have condemned Donald Trump’s raging and historical racism.
So maybe 49 misguided hate mongers came to Laguna to generate publicity, and in that quest they succeeded. Because while cooler heads in city government told us to stay home – that coming out would only draw attention to them – 3,000 of us didn’t get the memo or chose to ignore it because we just would not allow hate-filled rhetoric to go unanswered. Not ever. But especially, not now. We are raging with anger over what’s happening to our country, the one that announces on its Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” Those are our core values, and what makes us great. Not a red trucker hat.
Make no mistake. This counter-protest was about one thing: a repudiation of Trump. Hostilities are running high because we are terrified of what this clown might do next to damage our world. He is complicit in this bold new national assertion of hate, white supremacy, and xenophobia. He has incited violence since the beginning of his campaign, and appears to be girding his faithful to take to the streets in a civil war should anything happen to him. But on Sunday, those haters met the overwhelming forces of good.
The awakening has woke. And what a show it was. Lots of Lagunans, but plenty more from all over. Every age, race, religion, and sexual orientation. With great signs, emotional hugs, and cheers of affirmation when passing motorists honked. It was a good old fashioned rally that highlighted why ‘60s protests were such a great place for hook-ups. Just a big old love puddle of solidarity. And I was heartened to see so many young people engaged in activism, feeling their voice matters.
Yes, there was angry rhetoric on both sides, and some unsavory looking, mask-wearing antifas on the left who were thirsty for conflict. I don’t know what they stand for, and when I asked, I’m pretty sure they didn’t either. One of them told me he covered his face with a black bandana because it looked cool. Whatever, they mostly stood down from violence, which was prudent in the face of 300 cops with riot gear. But they will be a concern to future demonstrations.
All in all it was a cathartic experience for Laguna, and for everyone watching. Yes, we are that shining city on a hill who welcomes everyone, ministers to our needy, provides free healthcare to anyone who can’t pay, birthed hundreds of non-profits, tolerates free speech, but doesn’t, under any circumstances, tolerate intolerance. A potent smack down it was.
Billy Fried hosts “Laguna Talks” on Thursday nights at 8pm on KX93.5, and can be reached at [email protected]