Yesterday the Obama administration opened up the National Mall, closed to the general public due to the government shutdown, making a special exception to allow pro-amnesty groups to hold a rally. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, polite as ever, thanked the president for allowing the protesters to convene there, despite the fact that anyone else who wandered onto the Mall yesterday risked arrest, as it is currently "illegal" to visit the open-air site while it, and hundreds of other monuments and national parks, are officially "shut down".
So fences, a stage complete with lights and sound system, and even a row of porta-potties were all brought in for the grand occasion, not to mention over 150 unpaid police officers — all while most of the Mall was roped off as "verboten territory" to all other visitors. Meanwhile, the organizing pro-amnesty group advertised the rally to an overwhelming percentage of Americans — or so they keep telling us — who are desperate to see amnesty for 11 million illegal aliens.
But the group didn't just invite people to attend their event. In addition, they sent out emails that included a request that is somewhat unusual coming from the organizers of any event: they explicitly asked for at least 200 supporters to allow themselves to get arrested at the rally in order to draw attention to the country's pressing need for amnesty. Indeed, the organizers were so confident in the righteousness of their cause (and who wouldn't be, with the constant media support they have been enjoying?) that they spent the last two days trumpeting the fact that they were expecting hundreds of thousands of supporters to fill the Mall.
Instead, there were hundreds of thousands of no-shows yesterday. What happened? As James Gratz of Sigel, Illinois said, "Are [these people] so out of touch with . . . the real world that they thought hundreds of thousands . . . would show up at a pro-amnesty rally?"
True, at the rally's peak, there were several thousand participants on the Mall, but they started drifting off once the free concert was over. Among those who attended, though, it was not surprising to see many AFL-CIO and SEIU officials. But perhaps rank and file members of these two unions — i.e. actual American workers — failed to show because they were at work that day. After all, the unions need their members to show up for work, as they must earn the wages from which union dues are taken to fund such rallies — events that essentially amount to lobbying efforts for new foreign workers to be allowed to compete with them for jobs. Oh, the irony!
Just a short time later, the crowds had dwindled down to several hundred. At this point, union members, activists, and, shamefully, several Democratic members of Congress purposely got themselves arrested. This stunt meant that Capitol Police officers, who were not being paid thanks to the government shutdown, had to arrest and process these "activists".
So when you organize a rally, and hundreds of thousands of supporters you are expecting do not show up, what is your "take away" message? Could it possibly be that the polls showing Americans do not support an amnesty for 11 million illegal aliens have been correct all along?