What was missing from nearly all the media coverage of the “immigration rally” on Tuesday on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was any mention of how the rally came to be held there in the first place. The mall is closed for the duration of the so-called government shutdown, and yet hundreds showed up. Many were arrested, including some left-wing congressmen who should have known better.
The rally, under the banner “Camino Americano [American Way]: Rally and March for Immigrant Dignity and Respect,” was just part of the Obama administration’s plan to make the shutdown as painful, inconvenient, and offensive for ordinary Americans as possible. Neither “dignity” nor “respect” has been any part of that strategy — which is instead designed to outrage and anger innocent taxpayers.
As NBC noted, the rally “was held as scheduled despite the Mall being closed during the government shutdown. Several popular Latino artists and members of Congress were also in attendance.” Among those arrested for obstruction were Representatives Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Raul Grivjala (D-Ariz.), Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), Al Green (D-Texas), Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), and Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.). These all support the radical immigration bill pending before Congress, and include other Friends of Obama (FOOs) as well, such as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the AFL-CIO, which hosted the march.
The National Park Service (NPS) has come under fire for such disparate treatment of citizens and tried to explain away why some people are allowed on the mall while others are turned away. It’s all because of the First Amendment, said NPS spokesman Mike Litterst:
Under the same First Amendment rights that are allowing Honor Flight veterans and their families to visit the veterans memorials on the National Mall, other groups will be granted access to the park for First Amendment activities in according with National Park Service established regulations.
[Our] employees may be furloughed but the First Amendment continues.
This hypocritical whitewash hardly impressed World War II veterans who were interested in visiting their own (privately-funded) memorial and were turned away on Monday. As Rep Steve Stockman (R-Texas), one of those who stayed away from the immigration rally, pointedly expressed it, "Obama closed the National Mall to WWII vets. You can visit it tomorrow (Tuesday) but only if you’re in the illegal alien rally."
In fact, the only way those veterans were able to gain access to their memorial was because other members of Congress went with them. Stockman spokesman Donny Ferguson added that the NPS was “acting under orders from the White House” in limiting access to the mall to only FOOs.
One of those supporting the vets in their efforts to visit the National Mall was Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), who said, “I’m here to support the vets” but called the yellow caution tape and barricades (ridiculed widely as Barry-cades) “truly over the top.”
This is just the latest in a long list of outrages and injustices all committed in the name of coercing Americans to support ending the shutdown by bringing pressure to bear on their elected representatives. These include forcibly removing private citizens from their homes and business owners from their offices because they reside on federal land.
Just ask Joyce and Ralph Spencer, who own a lakeside cabin near Las Vegas. They were “informed” by the NPS that they could no longer live there for the duration of the shutdown in words chillingly reminiscent of the Gestapo in Nazi Germany: “Overnight stays are not permitted until a budget is passed and the park can reopen,” announced an NPS spokesman. The elderly couple, who have lived there for more than 30 years, are now staying with relatives.
Others being forcibly removed weren't so compliant, and it cost them. Bruce O’Connell was informed that he had to shut down his North Carolina inn and restaurant because it is on public land on the Blue Ridge Parkway. When he defied the order and attempted to remain open, a “swarm of armed” government agents showed up and forcibly evicted him from his property. O’Connell wrote this on his Facebook page:
We have ceased operations. I am furious all over again.
[Park] rangers are guarding our parking lot 24/7 keeping visitors out. It is downright scary.
As efforts are increasing to turn the federal government from a protector of rights into an invader of rights, Obama and his minions are finally getting some push-back. The House Natural Resources Committee stated:
Many of these non-federally funded sites exist throughout the United States and operate with no staff or resources from the National Park Service.
This is yet another example of the Obama administration attempting to make the government shutdown as painful as possible.
That committee is beginning an investigation into the heavy-handed tactics of the NPS. Demands from the NPS for Wisconsin to shut down state parks were met with resistance. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources removed NPS barricades from a popular boat-launching spot, drawing cheers from observers.
Operating under the banner containing the words “dignity” and “respect,” Tuesday's National Mall rally, which was approved because the participants were FOOs, should be replaced with words such as “offensive” and “oppressive.” Words such as “dignity” and “respect” and allusions to the First Amendment by agencies such as the NPS can no longer hide the simple fact that Obama is working to turn the federal government into his own private enforcement arm for policies that are increasingly unpopular with the citizenry.
The so-called “shutdown” is giving him a perfect opportunity to flex his totalitarian muscle.
Photo of Democrat congressman and other protestors at Tuesday's immigration rally at the National Mall: AP Images
A graduate of Cornell University and a former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American magazine and blogs frequently at www.LightFromTheRight.com, primarily on economics and politics. He can be reached at