Did that just happen?
One of the most serious things that I was not as prepared for as I had hoped to be was protesters. Of course I knew they would be there--that is unless their buses had already left back to LA by the time I got there.
At first the protesters were very respectful; they stood in silence right outside of the capitol building with their signs. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, no matter how wrong or misinformed it is, and I respected the way they handled themselves. I even went up to a few, spoke with them for a while, and invited them to stay for the evening rally to hear what we had to say. They even agreed that it was only fair to keep your heart and mind open to the opinion of others. Once you know where someone is coming from and what they believe, you can respectfully disagree. Sadly too many people pre-judge, and I am glad that some of the protesters at least had the courtesy to hear what I had to say before passing judgement on me.
The protesters sat quietly outside of the capitol for the majority of the evening until some radicals began showing up. As the rally was beginning to get underway, a group of Communists showed up (yes, Communists) like straight-up left-wing radicals! During the singing of the National Anthem, these radicals brought an American flag to the capitol and, after painting over it, stomped on it!
This broke my heart and really upset many of those present. Some even went as far as to say we should burn the Mexican flag as our own counter protest. Thankfully kindness prevailed and it was decided that despite the atrocity we had witnessed, burning the Mexican flag would not be tolerated. Mainly because we did not want any of our supporters to stoop to that level of utter disrespect for a nation and its people.
As an American of Hispanic decent, I can tell you that for the first time in my life I was truly embarrassed and proud at the same time. I was embarrassed that these radical protesters were claiming to represent people with a similar heritage to mine while simultaneously giving anyone with a similar last name or skin tone a bad name! I love this country, as does my family, and as do so many other people with a heritage similar to mine, it was despicable and indefensible what these radicals did. I hope that they know they did more harm than good to their cause and hopefully other Latinos can realize that these people do not have our best interests at heart.
On the other hand, I was very proud that even though we were extremely upset at what we saw, the American patriots present had the heart to show respect. We knew these people were radical and did not represent Mexico, nor did they represent me. I am proud that while others disrespected our flag, we ignored them and showed our respect during the National Anthem and went on to show our support for the rule of law.