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Lights, Camera, Arrest!



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Manuel Roig-Franzia’s WaPo profile of Representative Luis Gutierrez (D., Amnesty) is worth a look. If nothing else, it’s encouraging to see how much his Democrat colleagues hate him, too. But what I found most striking was how important getting arrested at pro-amnesty protests seems to be to Gutierrez’s self image. He yuks it up with Charlie Rangel about making bail. He and Raul Grijalva hug, “still animated by that moment of civil disobedience.” He runs into John Lewis, whose arrest with Gutierrez is part of the shameful effort to equate today’s border infiltrators with black U.S. citizens under Jim Crow.

The abject phoniness of these “arrests” is remarkable. Earlier this month, the Post profiled Abel Nunez, new chief of the floundering Central American Resource Center in D.C., who was also arrested at the poorly attended rally on the Mall (which was closed at the time to World War II veterans but open to anti-border demonstrators). This is how the piece ends:

Then there was his decision to join the civil disobedience and be arrested in front of the Capitol, alongside such national figures as Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.), a longtime immigration rights leader, and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), an icon of the civil rights movement.

It was as close as he had come to a rebellious gesture, but Nunez was careful to approach his first arrest in a business-like fashion.

Beforehand, he took a class with other protesters in how to interact with police; afterward, he stressed how friendly and professional they had been. “It was all arranged, and it went very smoothly,” he said with satisfaction.

It’s obscene to compare protest theater like this with the real danger faced by real civil-rights marchers half a century ago.



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