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March 29, 2004
How To Win Friends and Influence People

Imagine that a group of people would like to win your support for their cause, or at least try to convince you to listen to their side of an issue. Do you think that this is the most effective way to make the case?

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!" ...

The protest was organized by National People's Action, a coalition of neighborhood advocacy groups based in Chicago.

Leaders said they want Bush to advocate for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, a bill that would permit immigrants who have lived in the United States for at least five years to apply for legal resident status once they graduate from high school. The measure would eliminate provisions of current federal law that discourage states from providing in-state tuition to undocumented student immigrants.

Immigrant activists say that 50,000 to 65,000 undocumented students graduate from U.S. high school each year and that many students can afford college only at the reduced, in-state rates given to legal residents.

People have a right to gather and protest in any public space, including sidewalks in non-gated residential areas (gated areas are private property, including the roads and sidewalks), but they do not have the right to trespass on private property or to disturb the peace. Whatever one thinks of Karl Rove, storming his house is illegal, and even putting that aside, it's a stupid way to make your case.

Rove called the police, after the protestors terrified two children who were hiding inside the house (one Rove's, the other a neighbor), which got a typically stupid and ironic response from the crowd:

Shortly thereafter, sirens shot through the neighborhood and Secret Service agents and D.C. police joined the crowd on the lawn. Rove opened his door long enough to talk to an officer, and the crowd serenaded them with a stanza of "America the Beautiful."

I suppose that the crowd had never heard about property rights, one of the keystones of America, nor of Congress, where these debates are best held. Rove agreed to meet with two of the protestors as long as the rest got back on their buses and left his neighborhood, which they did. It wasn't a long conversation:

Rove opened his garage door and allowed Palacios and Inez Killingsworth to enter. The meeting lasted two minutes and ended with Rove closing the garage door on Palacios while she was still talking. ... 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."

If it were my house, the next time they showed up on my property banging on my windows and doors, they'd be talking with a double-barrelled shotgun as I demonstrated my Second Amendment rights. As far as their pet cause goes, if I were Karl Rove I'd be focusing all my energies on killing it just to make a point. However, sticking federal dollars into the pockets of illegal immigrants so that they don't feel so "discouraged" from attending college is ludicrous enough that it won't likely survive in Congress anyway.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 29, 2004 5:52 AM

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» Do Not Trespass from The Galvin Opinion
According to a Washington Post article, supporters of the proposed "DREAM Act," stormed Karl Rove's lawn, surrounded his house, pounded on his windows and demanded that he come outside. But never mentioned what the protestors did at Rove's ho... [Read More]

Tracked on March 29, 2004 4:43 PM

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