This month’s AC-GOP Chairman’s Blog is a response to the July 12, 2019, protest at the Aurora Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility.
Why? To keep the incident – and, more importantly, what it represents - alive.
Why? Because some of us have become disillusioned with the political process, and this incident should motivate each and every one of us to stay involved.
The facts, as presented here - hopefully, accurately and fairly – are intended to inform you about:
(1) what actually happened; (2) the significance of the event; and (3) what, if anything, we can – politically - do about it.
· 18 U.S. Code§ 700.Desecration of the flag of the United States; penalties(Added Pub. L. 90–381, § 1, July 5, 1968, 82 Stat. 291; amended Pub. L. 101–131, §§ 2, 3, Oct. 28,1989, 103 Stat. 777.)a)(1)Whoever knowingly mutilates, defaces, physically defiles, burns, maintains on the floor or ground, or tramples upon any flag of the United Statesshall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.
· Criminal tampering with the flag is also a violation of an Aurora city ordinance.
What actions preceded the rally?
· To direct attention away from the current Administration’s claims of an immigration crisis, and to rally their activist “troops”, Democrat strategists began to fixate on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and its detention facilities.
· In a local effort, in late June, 2019, the Arapahoe County Dem Chair encouraged specific actions be taken against the Aurora Chamber of Commerce – requesting that her followers harass the Chamber president, and lower the Chamber’s favorability ratings on social media (which could harm Aurora’s economic progress).
· This strong-arm tactic was employed in order to bully the Chamber into removing the warden of the ICE facility from membership on its Board!
· The Dem Chair has also called on her followers to flip the seats of 3 members of the Aurora City Council over to 3 progressive candidates. (Note: We cannot let these folks be elected! Aurora Republicans must get the vote out for the R’s running for Aurora City Council!)
· Next, the Dem Chair asked folks to sign up, and speak out against ICE, at Aurora City Council public hearings.
· Finally, she has encouraged “direct action”, e.g. for her followers - to join up with the Abolish ICE movement – while cautioning them that their participation in demonstrations “may result in arrest”.
Re-cap: The Rally
· On July, 12, 2019, 1000-2000 demonstrators (depending on the reporter), under the sponsorship of Lights for Liberty, the Green Party of Colorado, the Denver Communists, the Boulder Democratic Socialists of America, the Colorado Springs Anti-Fascists, and other like-minded groups, held a rally, in Aurora, outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center, run by a private contractor, the GEO Group.
· Three sitting Aurora Council members and 3 progressive candidates for the Council were in attendance.
· The publicized purpose of the rally - billed as “an expression of outrage against the horrific abuses of the Trump administration in human detention camps” -was to protest the Trump administration’s planned federal roundup of certain illegal immigrants,and the perceived “inhumane” conditions at the facility.
· Similarrallies were taking place in 10 other US cities, e.g. Houston, LA, LV, NYC, San Antonio, and Seattle - where a protester brandishing a gun was killed by police.
· At the Aurora rally, activists spoke, there was a march around the facility, and toward the end of the 4-hour protest, an individual – reportedly, a Mexican national - began running around the parking lot, with a Mexican flag, to the cheers of the crowd.
· Around 100 demonstrators then left the main group, broke through a barrier marked “Private property – no trespassing”, and removed the flags flying over the facility - including the American flag.
· The Denver Post reported that, when a person at the rally tried to stop them, “members of the group spit on her, shoved her and cursed at her”.
· Again, to the cheers of the crowd, the “official” flags were replaced by a Mexican flag, and a flag that included the words, "F--- the Cops"; and though some had tried (but failed) to burn the American/Blue Lives Matter flag, it was raisedupside-down, spray-painted with the words, “Abolish ICE”,across it.
· Interviewed rally organizers stated that they were upset with the people who had taken down and replaced the flags, because they felt that not only were participants put at risk, but also, that the resulting media coverage had been diverted away from the message the main group was trying to convey.
Why the sponsors said they held the event:
· … “to bring light to the inhumane conditions of immigrant, refugee and indigenous populations occurring in the Detention Centers across this country.”
· …And…"Even though the event did not go as planned, we still were able to provide an opportunity for the voices of the community to be heard, as well as, to drive money and donationsto organizations in the community doing the work on their behalf.”
· “Lastly, we were able to engage and educate more people in the community about the issues facing our immigrant, refugee and indigenous community and how they can get involved."
· Editorial comment: Occupy Wall Street, Lives Matter, the Green New Deal, ICE, and whatever will come next – are about disruption, donations, and voter recruitment. They represent emotional, not factually-based claims - without suggestions for positive change.
Why didn’t the police intervene, when laws were being ignored?
· Chief of police, Nick Metz, said, “The decision - to not intervene at the time - was based on protecting the safety of the large majority who were acting peacefully, and the safety of the officers”.
What was the consequence for the flag’s removal and desecration?
· Aurora police did ticket a woman for criminal tampering, and issue her a summons to appear in municipal court.
· Police are still looking for 6 more individuals of interest, in connection with the incident.
· In an interesting twist, the protest organizers went after the Denver Postfor publishing a picture of one of the persons police were seeking in connection with the flag removal and desecration.
· Then, supposedly based on “copyright laws”, the Denver Postwent after the Aurora police for even publishing the picture – despite the photo already having been posted in the public domain.
· Editorial comment: Why wouldn’t the Denver Post want to cooperate with law enforcement to apprehend law violators? What’s that all about?
· A number of elected officials, among them, DA George Brauchler, (JD 18), Governor Jared Polis, and Congressman Jason Crow, denounced the incident - though the latter two chose to incorporate their views - on the treatment of immigrants at the facility - into their repudiation.
· On July 15, 3 days after the incident, 3 council members, who had been featured speakers at the event - Allison Hiltz, Nicole Johnston and Nicole Murillo- tweeted their condemnation of what had occurred.
Editorial comment: To this date, however, the 3 have never said anything to challenge their party’s negative campaign against the Aurora Chamber of Commerce.
· Then, at the July 15 Aurora City Council meeting, Councilman, and retired AF Colonel, Dave Gruberreproached the 3 city council members who had coordinated with the event’s organizers, for what had happened to the flags, stating: "Our council members were complicit in these acts, and we, the veterans, hold you accountable".
· The 3 council members then accused Councilman Gruber of being “racist and sexist”, and claimed that the councilman’s words put them in danger. As quoted in the Aurora Sentinel, "We no longer feel safe with the hate that (Gruber) has intentionally incited".
Indignation is not enough.
· True, illegal immigrant holding facilities, as all government-run facilities, should treat people humanely (though visitors to the facility state that the claims of poor treatment have been greatly exaggerated). The key take away is: We wouldn’t even need those facilities, if people came into the country legally!
· The flag of the United States of America is our national symbol, i.e. the emblematic representation of the very country to which immigrants, legal and illegal, want to come!
o Its 13 stripes represent the original 13 Colonies; the stars, the 50 states of the Union.
o The red symbolizes hardiness and valor; the white, purity and innocence; the blue, vigilance, perseverance and justice.
· Certainly, this country is not perfect, but while dissonance and peaceful dissidence are among our cherished freedoms, vandalizing our country’s symbol goes too far.
Why?…Because the desecration of the US flag diminishes the lives of those who fought and died for our right to speak freely, and yes, to protest.
So…here’s what you/we can do:
1. Talk to your friends and neighbors – yes, even Dems - and most especially veterans– about what happened at the ICE protest. Ask them to contact their elected representatives to express their anger about the incident –in particular, about the desecration of the American flag - and about the continuing harassment of those who speak out against such actions.
2. Especially if you live in Aurora, sign up to speak at an Aurora City Council public hearing. Tell the Council that you do notsupport anyactivities against the ICE Center, OR the Chamber of Commerce. …And don’t forget to vote for - and work hard- to re-elect/elect candidates who will continue to represent your values!
3. Whether you live in Aurora or not: Write to, call, and/or attend public meetings and campaign rallies of elected – yes, even Dem officials and candidates - and question them (respectfully) as to why they would value the interests of illegal aliens over taxpaying US citizens, and residents who came here legally. We cannot let the D’s monopolize the conversation with their negative and harmful agenda!
“Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice, speak out, because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on.” — Thurgood Marshall
GET ACTIVE! SPEAK OUT! GET TRAINED TO REGISTER VOTERS! CANVASS YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD! GET INVOLVED WITH GOP ACTIVITIES! GET OUT THE VOTE! …AND ABOVE ALL, GET YOURSELFOUT TO VOTE!
Thank you for all you do!
Dorothy Gotlieb, Chairman
Arapahoe County GOP