Thursday, October 23, 2014

Overpasses for America anti-immigration rally experience - |

So I have been pondering how exactly to present Justin's we adventure into the crazy land of the white supremacy movement slash anti-immigration protests. I am not familiar with the characters in his narrative of events but as a fellow Pennsylvanian I find it interesting (for lack of a better word) that the "mind-set" and activities Justin brought to light exist in my adopted home state. Which I know sound utterly absurd considering I do follow the movement on a national level, and I post about their antics. Guess I need to pay more attention to shit going on in my own back-yard.

Although Justin and I live in the same state, we are a good five hours form each other. I live in the middle of butt-fuck nowhere away from the hub-bub of city influences whilst Justin is in the midst of it. Our local and regional governance though similar have differences. I go from borough/county then to state level. But after reading Justin's report and its aftermath, it got me to thinking about my local politicians and what they really support. Although I am acquainted with my local reps, I now wonder do I really "know" what they stand for? And how would I react if I discovered that one of my local politicians held views or supported a cause I found reprehensible?

I give Justin much credit for undertaking what he did. Even in the aftermath of his initial posting he has stressed his desire for dialogue. Whether one agrees or disagrees, civil dialogue is what is important.

Overpasses for America anti-immigration rally experience - |
Approaching the rally held on a Lackawanna County overpass, I saw signs and banners reading ‘Impeach Obama,’ ‘Obama lies,’ ‘No amnesty,’ ‘Secure our borders,’ ‘Save America,’ and ‘Save the USA.’ Following distribution of my business card when I was greeted by a rally attendee (which was accompanied by mutterings of ‘he’s that atheist’ or something to that effect and what seemed to be a ridicule of church/state separation which later was followed with ‘the constitution says nothing about separation of church and state), I spoke with several individuals.

Below, I shall outline the common assertions and arguments I heard and offer my responses,,,
Republican Chairwoman Mary Ann Benitez dishonest about affiliation with skinhead
Today, following sharing of my blog post on the event’s Facebook page (which was later mysteriously removed), I received a private message from Mary Ann Benitez who asked me to remove my picture of her from my blog post because she feared for her safety and the safety of her children. She explained that she also contacted Steve Smith [whom she was pictured with] asking him to remove her picture from

I told her that I was confused because as the rally organizer she had taken photos with others and appeared in-person engaging with the public. If she didn’t want her photo online, why would she be so public and consent to being in photographs? Additionally, her picture was on for months.

She informed me that she didn’t know the photos of her were public and that she isn’t a racist or member of a “skin head” group (her use of quotes) and that anyone is welcome to attend her rallies provided they are respectful. She explained that she doesn’t ask ralliers what they do and that they are not allowed to advertise what they do.

I suggested she release a statement disassociating herself with Keystone State Skinheads/Keystone United/some of the rally attendees and informed her that people will associate her with rally attendees should they continue to demonstrate together. I also agreed to remove the picture of her on my website.

Hours after removing the picture of Mary Ann Benitez from my website, I have since restored the picture due to her tremendous dishonesty and obvious knowledge about her affiliations with Steve Smith and Keystone State Skinheads/Keystone United. At first, as a precautionary measure and a gesture of good will, I removed the picture, but now I have again posted the picture and will explain why.
Skinhead vows to embarrass me in public…and other updates
Smith, following Benitez, has also issued an informal request for me to remove content from my page – specifically a public photo he had uploaded featuring his son who had appeared at one of Benitez’ rallies. I originally uploaded the full picture including his son who was incidentally pictured [I did not upload the picture with intention to criticize or even comment at all about his son], but have since removed the picture since the picture of his son had nothing to do with the post; the picture of Smith and his son at the rally was unneeded to show evidence of Benitez’ affiliations with Smith.

Additionally, if Smith did not want a picture of his son uploaded on my website (or anywhere else for that matter) he ought not have uploaded the picture for the general public to see…or brought his son to a public rally in which no attendees have an expectation for privacy concerning being photographed.

Anyway, Smith wrote, on my Facebook page, “Don’t worry , you will see me again and I will embarrass you in public like I do to all my detractors.” I find this quite bizarre. For one, Smith is not banned from posting on this blog, my Facebook page, or other venues in which I promote content.

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