A "croc" of tears?

Did the hard-hearted Karl Rove make people cry when all they did was surround his house, pound on his windows, and frighten his children?

Attack the house tactics are not new:

Several hundred people stormed the small yard of President Bush's chief political strategist, Karl Rove, yesterday afternoon, pounding on his windows, shoving signs at others and challenging Rove to talk to them about a bill that deals with educational opportunities for immigrants.

Protesters poured out of one school bus after another, piercing an otherwise quiet, peaceful Sunday in Rove's Palisades neighborhood in Northwest, chanting, "Karl, Karl, come on out! See what the DREAM Act is all about!"

Rove obliged their first request and opened his door long enough to say, "Get off my property."

"Seems like he doesn't want to invite us in for tea," Emira Palacios quipped to the crowd.

Others chanted, "Karl Rove ain't got no soul."

The crowd then grew more aggressive, fanning around the three accessible sides of Rove's house, tracking him through the many windows, waving signs that read "Say Yes to DREAM" and pounding on the glass. At one point, Rove rushed to a window, pointed a finger and yelled something inaudible.

....

Palacios said that Rove was "very upset" and was "yelling in our faces" and that Rove told them "he hoped we were proud to make his 14-year-old and 10-year-old cry."

A White House spokesman said one of the children was a neighbor.

Palacios, trembling and in tears herself, said, "He is very offended because we dared to come here. We dared to come here because he dared to ignore us. I'm sorry we disturbed his children, but our children are disturbed every day.

"He also said, 'Don't ever dare to come back,' " Palacios said. "We will, if he continues to ignore us."

(More here.)

In tears?

Forgive me if I doubt the sincerity the tears of Emira Palacios, professional activist who spearheads this organization. Profile here, she's a "lobbyist" (if that's not too strong of a word), for things like making drivers licenses easier for illegal aliens to obtain, and hands out awards, like the Horse's ass of the year award, which went Dan Stein, Director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). This was after another "action" during which Palacios "descended on the headquarters" of FAIR.

Menacing-the-home tactics are in my opinion the hardest of hard ball tactics, and considering what I have seen over the years, I am highly suspicious of people who organize such a thing and hide behind tears.

The City of Berkeley had an excellent City Manager whose house was subjected to a similar protest seige, causing him to resign his job later. I blogged about this in June:

Of course, when I was on the Police Review Commission, it escalated from mere words, and instead of worrying about definitions I found myself fearing for my life.

Leaflets were passed out by an angry mob with names and addresses of commissioners coupled with "take whatever action your conscience deems necessary" code language, my truck was burned, another Commissioner had his car torched, and police officers were directed to leave Commission meetings for legitimate fear of "officer safety" (leaving us to face the mob alone). I will never forget a meeting with Berkeley's City Manager, who related his horror story of angry activists visiting his home when he was at work, and threatening his wife and kids.

"YOU CAN HAVE THIS PLACE!" he told me. Shortly thereafter, he quit his job, and went on to greener pastures as City Manager of a lovely, more peaceful place, -- Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Such tactics can be effective at the City Manager level, because ordinary people don't like it when their kids are menaced by angry mobs.

I guess it remains to be seen whether they'll work with Karl Rove. I know there's that old saying "if you can't stand the heat...." but it's easy for me to say. I don't have kids. If people surround my house and bang on the windows, well, I am armed.

But the tears are a new wrinkle in this context. Not that I haven't been subjected to tears by professional activists trying to get their way. Once when I was in the unfortunate position of being a "swing voter" (I was not aligned with either Berkeley's Marxist left faction nor the McGovern Democrat "rightist" faction), I was pressured to vote for a woman on the Marxist side. She told me how hard it was as a single mom, and launched into a long rant during which she looked up towards the ceiling and actually started to cry. No sooner had I stated that I had already decided to vote for someone else than the "tears" stopped, her eyes narrowed, and her face took on a very cold, hard stare. She looked right at me, as if to say, "OK buddy, you're on!"

At the time I thought of a different kind of tears.

It didn't strike me as civilized discourse. The tears were just a tactic, and when they failed, it was time for other tactics to begin. This is not to say that hard-ball activists don't shed real tears, nor can I state definitively that Ms. Palacios was not shedding real tears.

But I just don't think surrounding a house and menacing someone's children is consistent with the moral high ground normally associated with being a victim.

And even if we assume the tears were sincere, were they tears of contrition?

I doubt it.

posted by Eric on 03.29.04 at 01:31 PM







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» Civilized Democracy? from achilles running :: achilles not running
And they call this democracy? What could this possibly accomplish, other than to deepen the divide between the leaders & whatever good might be present in the minds of the NPA representatives? Democracy cannot function when people engage in barbarian... [Read More]
Tracked on March 29, 2004 4:56 PM
» Civilized Democracy? from achilles running :: achilles not running
Demonstrators Swarm Around Rove's Home, Pounding on Windows Several hundred people stormed the small yard of President Bush's chief political strategist, Karl Rove, yesterday afternoon, pounding on his windows, shoving signs at others and challenging R... [Read More]
Tracked on March 29, 2004 5:00 PM



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Sorry about the double trackback. Bookmarklet didn't quite function properly. The second trackback is correct.

AWESOME.

achilles   ·  March 29, 2004 5:02 PM

Harassing a person -- _any_ person, I don't give a damn who it is -- in his or her own home is despicable and unforgivable, an out-and-out destruction of the sacred right to privacy if there ever was one. Period. There isn't any cause -- not any -- that ever justifies such a thing. Period. Your home is your castle, your sanctuary, your cathedral. As I never tire of quoting, in the words of Justice Louis Brandeis, "the right to be let alone is the right most valued by civilized men."

Do you realize the NPA actually made Rove's home address public in a national press release? Absolutely unconscionable.

jen   ·  March 31, 2004 9:52 AM

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