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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Campus Republicans Host an Insultingly Mocking Game as a Counter-Protest

If you did not know that they were there in advance, you would have missed them. I had more people send me the counter-announcement on this than on any other item. In retrospect, the concern about it was important but the main event far over-shadowed this one.

On the lawn of the Memorial Union yesterday, the College Republicans were hosting their own counter-protest. About thirty students signed up. When I saw them there were as many as ten, and less than twenty students playing a game of "Capture the Illegal Immigrant."

The event was organized by Ryan Clumpner, a UC Davis student who grew up in Davis. When I knew him he was not only my neighbor but also a student of mine in a couple of Davis Political Science Classes. He has been one of the leaders of the UC Davis College Republicans and worked in the 2004 Gary Podesto campaign against Mike Machado.

Among the other participants is Briana Bilbray, daughter of Southern California Congressman Brian Bilbray. Bilbray recently won election again in Duke Cunningham's seat and illegal immigration is the centerpiece of his campaign planks.

Reasonable people can disagree on immigration policy--this blog post is not about honest disagreements on public policy. It is about insensitive, insulting, mocking, and unacceptable behavior by educated or should-be educated college students who decided that their best form of expression was a mocking game of capture the flag.
Illegal Immigrant Capture the Flag
Si Se Peude!!

The Rules:

1. Team Illegal Immigrants must outnumber Team INS
2. Team INS must play with their hands tied behind their backs
3. Team INS plays defense the whole game
4. "Amnesty" will be granted to all tagged members of Team Illegal Immigrants every 10 minutes
5. All other rules apply only to Team INS
"We choose to express our opinions regarding illegal immigration in friendly, collegiate manner. On our lunch break, over 20 members of the Davis College Republicans will participate in a game of Capture the Flag. We believe this is an appropriate allegory that effectively demonstrates how our government currently refuses to enforce its own laws regarding immigration, at the expense of the public good," said Ryan Clumpner, Chairman of the California College Republicans and a student at UC Davis.

"We believe that the leftists choice to walk out of classes in order to make a political statement supporting illegal immigration is an appalling act of disrespect toward the hardworking California taxpayers who make our affordable education possible. Those same taxpayers also bear the burden of paying nearly $10 billion in costs to the state of California annually incurred by illegal immigration."
In any case, it seems that the protest while it garnered some media coverage, largely fell on deaf ears, vastly dwarfed by the hundreds of students who marched in support of health care, workers' rights, reform to immigration policy, and against the war. Nevertheless, it is important to draw people attention to this event and show it for the childish and juvenile mockery that it was.

I had long since left the scene as the main march was the story of the day. According to reports in the California Aggie, the game never got underway.
According to bystander Kyle Flick, a junior political science major at UC Davis, the capture-the-flag game never played out.

"People from the rally came over with concerns with the DCR activity," Flick said. "After the main group of the rally walked straight through DCR, a smaller group stayed behind and surrounded DCR. The smaller group kept growing, though."

Flick went on to say that DCR members were outnumbered more than 2 to 1.

"They must have felt intimidated," Flick said.
---Doug Paul Davis reporting