Sunday, March 11, 2007

Gilchrist Twists In The Wind

As I read reporter Jennifer Delson's report on the current travails of Minuteman Project co-founder Jim Gilchrist entitled "A Minuteman meets his hour of crisis" published in the Los Angeles Times today I couldn't stifle the smile that formed on my face. The chronicle of the turmoil within that organization, including Gilchrist being fired by members of the board he had hand picked and he, in turn, trying to fire them, had me thinking that he deserved every bit of discomfort he gets.

You will recall that Gilchrist, failed congressional candidate and the self-annointed savior of our country, had embraced and supported our young jailer/mayor, Allan Mansoor, during his campaign for reelection. He made Mansoor an honorary Minuteman and his Minutechicks held a fundraising picnic for him. Gilchrist and his band of loopy minions demonstrated on the streets of Costa Mesa against illegal immigration and Gilchrist popped up in front of the City Council several times to praise Mansoor's "bravery" and "leadership". Many of his whacky, rabid entourage drove long distances from garden spots like Ontario and Bakersfield
to bring their wisdom before the council and many of them wrote flowery letters of support of the mayor and his positions to local newspapers.

There's no doubt in my mind that Gilchrist and his flock had a positive impact on Mansoor's campaign. That, alone, is a reason to chuckle when he's in trouble. He deserves it.

I look forward to seeing how the issue of control of the Minuteman Project, and the alleged missing $750,000, gets resolved. In the meantime, I'll enjoy imagining Gilchrist twisting slowly in the wind.

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Anonymous Rob Dickson said...

Not nice to gloat, Geoff!

I love all the Minuteman bashing, when all they did was sit on the border and call the Border Patrol when they witnessed someone illegally entering the U.S.

No one criticized the protestors in Garden Grove, those noble freedom fighters for the rights of criminals, for physically attacking police and Minuteman supporters.

No one criticized the ACLU "monitors" who were filmed smoking dope and cursing out senior citizens whose only offense was to volunteer their time to sit on the border with an American flag and a cell phone.

No one criticized the people who physically attacked the Minutemen on the border.

No one criticized the Columbia University students who rushed the stage and physically attacked Gilchrist, preventing him from speaking at a forum put on by College Republicans.

But you get all gleeful over the troubles facing a man who made enforcing immigration law his mission. He wants illegal immigrants out of the US and our borders enforced, and HE is the problem?

Pretty disappointing, Geoff.

3/13/2007 12:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Westside said...

It's OK to be against undocumented immigrants, but it isn't OK to institute INSTITUTIONAL DISCRIMINATION to get all the undocummented out of the country. Such policy creates segregation, and that's precisely what you mentor (Gilchrist) attempts to do here, and that's what your Mayor of Costa Mesa (Mansoor) has been doing for the last three years. Looks like we're going back to that Rigid Society that most Americans (except Millard, the 666, of course) today are embarrassed to look at. You know what I'm talking about. Entiendes, Si,

3/13/2007 08:00:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

As you will discover, life if full of disappointments. If my view of Gilchrist is a major disappointment for you, then you're a lucky young man because in the grand scheme of things it's not such a big deal.

I don't doubt that Gilchrist thinks he's a patriot and that his intentions are pure. The Minuteman Project forced the immigration issue onto the front pages. However, his interference with the political process in Costa Mesa was inappropriate.

I hope you'll continue to write when you feel like it.

3/13/2007 10:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob Dickson said...

Westside and Geoff,

You are both right - institutional discrimination and segregation are un-American and damaging to our society, and Costa Mesa had enough to deal with before Gilchrist showed up and made us a national focal point for immigration issues.

So why so happy about Gilchrist facing hard times? He wants the borders SHUT DOWN, which you agree with! The Minuteman Project website has this banner prominently displayed:

"MMP has no affiliation with, nor will we accept any assistance by or interference from, separatists, racists, or supremacy groups."

A bunch of retired cops and military, as well as ordinary folks step up and ACT to protect our borders, and you label them "loopy", "whacky" and "rabid."

They weren't the ones with foreign flags and signs screaming "racist" and "Nazi" - they were and are the ones who stand there with American flags and protest the failure of the federal government to secure our borders.

I don't think this issue will EVER be resolved if people continue to lable those who oppose illegal immigration as racist, intolerant, extremist, etc.

My disappointment was with your take on the issue and your characterization of Minutemen and their supporters.

Its disappointing that you are so seemingly out of touch with mainstream American concern about illegal immigration and the pathetic state of our border security. Casually mocking the turmoil at the Minuteman Project (which is more a sign of its success than failure, by the way) just reinforces that perception, in my opinion.

If you want to call people rabid and whacky about illegal immigration - try the anonymous posters on the Daily Pilot, not people who actually take action peacefully and publicly.

I was there during the protests in CM and at the Council, and the loopy, whacky and rabid folks were the pro-illegal immigrant crowd, NOT the calm pro-American crowd.

Geoff, as a dedicated Council watcher, do you recall the out-of-towners who routinely showed up and harangued Mansoor and Company? Calling them racists, Hitler, etc? How about the truly frightening lunatic in the crew cut, trench coat, and black suit, with the Hitler Pez dispenser? Remember him? Bouncing around in his seat, talking and laughing to himself? I only point that out to contrast the behavior and actions of Minutemen supporters.

If you want real reform and a better future regarding immigration for Costa Mesa, please be honest about the players.

As far as institutional discrimination, I don't see it in Costa Mesa. We have a thriving and long-established Latino community, with strong advocates. It would benefit everyone to have meaningful reform, secure borders, and all CM residents legally here and positively contributing to the community. I have repeatedly stated my opposition to wholesale deportation and disruption of our community.

Don't make the lazy mistake of associating all who oppose illegal immigration with the theoretical character that resembles Your Neighbor!

3/14/2007 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...


I agree that the Minuteman Project wants the borders shut down. I agree that they say they will they won't accept the kind of support you mentioned from the groups you mentioned. That's what they say. However, if you check any number of web sites that are notorious for their white supremacist leanings, most of them overtly so, you will find that very support is expressed loud and clear.

Yes, I saw those "out of towners" - on both sides of the issue. We had Minuteman supporters from many cities around southern California and my description of them is valid. There were plenty of screwballs to go around on both sides of the issue. I don't know when you began reading this blog, but I decried that interference - again, from both sides - a year ago when it began.

Gilchrist and his mob stood outside Mirna Burciaga's restaurant and attempted to intimidate her and her customers, just as anti-Mansoor advocates - every bit as rabid - stood outside Gary Monahan's place doing the same thing. Both sides were at fault.

I didn't like it when Coyotl stood at the podium and cussed out Mansoor, and said so at the time. He violated the rules and, even though Mansoor cut him off short of his time, what happened to him should have happened. As he was dragged from the auditorium some of his supporters sang "We shall overcome." Simultaneously, a Mansoor supporter charged across the room, urged on by his pals, and began screaming "God Bless America" at the top of his lungs, trying to shout down the others. There were plenty of whackos to go around.

I resented the outside interference in our election and especially the attempt Gilchrist and his hoard made to deify Mansoor during the campaign. In the fifteen months since Mansoor launched his immigration screening scheme and the world discovered him you could see him change - and not for the better.

I resent the phrase "lazy mistake", by the way. I have not equated all folks who oppose illegal immigration with the fellow you mentioned - I would have to include myself in that condemnation if I did. No, he's a special case - a flat out racist who makes no bones about it in his essays.

Those of us who oppose illegal immigration do so with a clear idea of what we think it means to this country. I believe the comment you posted on my most recent entry was excellent, and describes a pretty clear idea of some things that need to be done.

If Jim Gilchrist is some kind of a hero to you I hope you'll find another. He's unworthy of such adulation.

As always, thanks for taking the time to write.

3/14/2007 09:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob Dickson said...


I am pretty recent to the blog, so I missed the comments on the Mansoor immigration proposal when it was white-hot.

I don't admire Gilchrist personally, but I do admire many of the Minutemen themselves - something about taking action in the face of government inaction.

I was attempting to make a distinction between the way the different groups are characterized, but after reading your last post, it is plainly obvious that we are on the same page. Absolutely, radicals are drawn to Gilchrist. I had conveniently forgotten about the boycott at Mirna's restaurant, though I was all fired up about the protests at Monahan's. They were the same thing, my bias got the best of me. I appreciate your long view and close attention to the whole of the picture.

Regardless - point taken.

As for Gilchrist himself? I don't think it is fair to paint him with the same brush as some of the extremists and racists that showed up to support the MMP, as documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center. They may be using Gilchrist's publicity, but that isn't proof that Gilchrist believes in what they believe. But honestly, I have no idea what he truly believes. I do hope his motives are pure, but I don't know. He did almost single-handedly blow the border issue up, so I am grateful for that.

If you read the "lazy mistake" sentence again, you'll see it wasn't directed at you, but an admonition to anyone who assumes that those associating with "Your Neighbor" somehow acquires his views and beliefs through osmosis.

Thanks again for the opportunity to comment.

3/14/2007 10:23:00 PM  

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