Arizona Held The Stupidest Confederate Flag Protest Ever, And It Was Beautiful
Yr Wonkette likes to think we know funny when we see it, and this report by Miriam Wasser on Sunday's Great Big "Stand By The Flag" rally at a Phoenix Walmart is funny. You should go read it right now and then come back and discuss how it makes you both proud and a little queasy to be an 'Merican. Also, note the guest appearance by Sad Jon Ritzheimer, the super-patriot who organized the big anti-Islam Rally a few weeks back, and now just wants to be left alone while also getting himself a lot of publicity, because he is a private man who desperately wants his important ideas to be heard.
But this rally wasn't about Jon Ritzeimer, who refused to talk to Phoenix New Times reporter Wasser, telling her that he and his family were avoiding the media. This rally was about free speech and free expression, and according to one gentleman at the rally, about why white people never get any respect for all the help they've given The Blacks, even back in slavery times, and now They want to take away the Confederate Flag from Walmart. "They" being Walmart itself, of course, which just goes to show how insidious this all is. Plus there's the teensy detail that the Walmart in Phoenix never actually carried any Confederate flag merch in the first place -- a manager, mystified by the demonstration in the parking lot, mentioned to the New Times reporter "that he thought this was all pretty silly and even a little confusing, 'We never sold Confederate flags here,' he said. 'We’re not in the south.'"
Things got heated when organizers of a counter-demonstration announced that they planned to burn a Confederate flag, and maybe an American one, too, for good measure, which brought out a whole bunch of angry patriots ready to lynch any goddamn hippie that burned Old Glory. Wasser shares the details of the tense standoff:
At least at the beginning of the protest, the majority of people came to do whatever was necessary to prevent anyone from harming Old Glory -- even if that meant “spending a night in jail,” as one man put it.
According to those gathered in the parking lot, a young man dressed in black and standing nearby threatened to destroy an American flag but left around 3 p.m. (Neither New Times nor the Phoenix Police Department saw this individual, but protesters say he was there and quickly congratulated themselves on the defeat of their opponent.)
“The gentleman that was going to do [the flag burning] left, [and our presence here] stopped it,” said Rob Wahl, vice president of the Arizona 3%ers group. Wahl, who previously had struck a deal with Walmart management to remain peaceful and leave if the purported flag-burner left, encouraged his fellow patriots to reconvene at a nearby park and celebrate.
Oh, but it wasn't over, not at all. The counter-protesters provoked the patriots when they "silently marched by them, soliciting the furious reaction they most likely intended." The patriots surged back, and soon everybody was yelling at everybody else about a whole bunch of Constitution stuff, and rights, and imperialism, and why is there a BLACK Entertainment Television channel but no WHITE entertainment television network, huh? You owe it to yourself to watch this video. You will feel proud to be an American, especially when the guy in the "Johnny Rebel" t-shirt refuses to tell the New Times reporter where he learned about history, because "I really don't trust you with information."
Eventually the police, at the request of Walmart managers who were getting complaints from customers, kicked the whole crowd out of the parking lot, but the shouting matches continued on a nearby sidewalk near a bus stop. One counter-protester came dressed in what he said was the uniform of "a late 1960s East German Stasi enlisted man. Suffice it to say that the pro-American flag protesters did not take well to 'the Nazi costume.'"
Tempers and nostrils flared, and obscenities were exchanged. A lady ripped up a badly-homemade Confederate flag. Things got downright stupid:
Tensions flared as one counter-protester stomped on an American flag -- Ritzheimer snatched it from under the young man’s feet, and later retaliated the gesture by grabbing the vintage German military coat, throwing it in the dust, and stomping on it. Police quickly surrounded Ritzheimer, and escorted him back to his side of the crowd.
That's the guy who doesn't want publicity, and yet somehow it keeps finding him!
We also learn from this report that the spokesman for the Phoenix Police Department has the best possible name in the world: LieutenantRandy Force.We swear we are not making this up. He made it clear that the police were just there to protect everyone's rights: "Walmart’s rights as a private corporation, and everyone’s First and Second Amendment rights." It is unlikely that any Third Amendment questions were raised during the demonstration, as it ended before sundown. But if they had, Randy Force would have swung into action and settled things right down, we bet.
What impresses us so much about Wasser's reporting is how it catches the sense of pointless confrontation for its own sake:
By 5 p.m., the situation had officially become, as one on-looker so elegantly put it, “intellectual masturbation.”
“You fucking anarchists, you fucking communists,” the man with the bullhorn yelled, adding something about Russia and the Soviet Union.
“Which am I? A communist or an anarchists,” the woman who tore the flag screamed back.
“You’re both, communists can be anarchists, you dumb-ass,” he chided.
“Nobody has an intelligent point, all I hear is race baiting and name calling,” a frustrated on-looker yelled, suddenly joining the debate and forcing both sides to turn against him. “Where’s the intelligent discourse?”
We've been in crowds like that. And then after a while, everyone got tired of yelling at the fascist asshole reactionaries/commie pinko America-haters across from them, and they all went home, certain that they had prevailed. Then later that evening, America won all the soccer. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
[ New Times ]