Friday, May 2, 2008


That was the estimated count of pro-amnesty marchers in Chicago at the May Day parade yesterday.

I enjoyed the PR spinning going on by the media, mourning the loss of a cheap story every year.

Some said the crowd was smaller but "spirited", whatever that means. And they were delighted to report that Mayor Daley was dancing around on stage.

Why the lower turnout? One radio station reported that workers were afraid of reprisals from employers. They said some workers were “punished” for attending last year’s rally.

(I was thinking that ought to be BIG news…an employer “punishing” workers for exercising their First Amendment right to protest. Alas, the reporter did not elaborate, nor did he attribute.)

Fear of deportation was another reason given for the low turnout. They obviously don’t know the ICE people in Chicago. You’ve got to be REALLY BAD to get deported around here.

Why, they even expanded their invitation this year to include gays, communists, universal health insurance people, anti-war protesters, and subprime mortgage rescue advocates.

Economics professor Barry Chiswick suggested that May Day might not be the best day to march. It has other connotations deeply rooted in communism, socialism, and “workers of the world” types. He suggests that anarchy is pretty far to the left to be accepted by the mainstream. He’s right.

The protesters and the media did make a confession. When they talked about all the other countries and cultures represented in years past, they were only kidding. It has always been about Mexicans. But this year was different. This year it included a nice mix of people from all nations.

Why, they even made up a huge banner with flags from 30 countries on it. And the media was kind enough to include photos and video of the banner in their coverage. This issue has grown more diverse because the organizers say it is so.

Now, the organizers said one of their objectives was to register new voters. I do hope they were careful to register only citizens; the rest aren’t supposed to vote, you know. Not in my America. Not yet at least.

I’m trying to predict the turnout next year using statistical formulae. 400,000…150,000…15,000... Next year they can hold the rally in my kitchen.

1 comment:

  1. If they held it in the kitchen, it might make it easier for deportation that way.