Call it the summer of discontent.
Or simmering anger.
As Central American children continue to illegally pour across the U.S. southern border, thousands of Americans poured onto the streets Friday in 319 cities and towns across the country.
A group in Birmingham, Alabama, toted signs with the slogans “No illegal immigrants period” and “You can’t fix stupid.”
Joyce Stockton, 71, from Chickasha, Oklahoma, came from 50 miles away to protest on an overpass at Interstate-240 and Pennsylvania Avenue in Oklahoma City.
She said she plans to get some rest tonight and hit the streets again Saturday either in Oklahoma City or in Lawton, which is the home of Fort Sill and one of the temporary shelters taking in illegal immigrants.
“This is the first time I’ve been involved in something like this,” Stockton told WND. “I’ve been involved in the tea party for five years, but this is my first time at a protest like this, and I am just amazed at how much support is being shown.”
She said the crowd grew as some people who didn’t know anything about the protests came and joined in spontaneously.
“People stopped and came up and said hello, and said, ‘I appreciate what you’re doing and I support you doing it and we’ll be back tomorrow.’ We’ve had a lot of honks. A lot of truckers honking, too,” Stockton said.
The protests will continue Saturday on highway overpasses, in state capitals, Mexican consulates and facilities receiving the illegal aliens.
The event is coordinated by a coalition of 50 organizations and three main sponsors – Americans for Legal Immigration, Overpasses for America and Make Them Listen. A list of locations and times for Saturday’s protests can be found here.
James Neighbors, founder and president of Overpasses for America, was also in Oklahoma City protesting Friday.
“It’s just Americana out here. I mean it really is,” he said.
But it didn’t take long before Americana had an encounter with the “other side.”
“We had a group of counter-protesters come out; about half a dozen came from the apartment complex down the road, and I found out from one of the people who lives here that it’s a majority of illegal aliens who live there,” Neighbors said. “When they first showed up it was kind of heated, nothing nasty. But they were kinda hostile and we were kinda hostile back.”
Yet, as the two groups talked, they discovered they had more in common than not.
“We ended up talking, and we agreed on every single issue. He was a self-described libertarian, and the only issue we disagreed on was illegal immigration,” Neighbors said. “That’s a lot of common ground to cover.”
He called the conversation “an eye opener, as it turned out to be pleasant to speak to him.”
“He said he agreed with the Constitution, and if the people were able to bear arms in these countries where they’re coming from, we wouldn’t have this border mess, because they would have solved this problem already,” Neighbors said. “Maybe they need a 1776 moment. Maybe we should stop funding terrorists and start funding freedom fighters here in our own hemisphere.”
William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration, said the first day of protests went about as well as could be expected for a first-time grassroots event that received very little publicity in the establishment media.
“We’re still collecting information, but it looks like in a lot of places we had 30 to 50 people, some places a dozen or so, some just a handful,” Gheen said.
Gheen said he received no reports of run-ins with police.
ALIPAC is looking for more information on an unverified report that some protesters in Michigan were confronted by belligerent illegal-alien supporters, which reportedly had to be apprehended by police.
In an email forwarded to WND from Gheen, a woman who described herself as a member of the Oath Keepers organization reported that a protest she attended started off with a “picnic atmosphere” with protesters holding a barbecue on a homeowner’s front lawn. They were putting up flags and signs that said “No Amnesty,” “Honk for America” and “Protect our Sovereignty.”
That’s when “the shtf [s— hit the fan] from outsiders/instigators from across the street,” Linda said in the email.
“They literally stomped all over, screamed in our faces and tore up signs on the host’s private property/lawn. They had a bullhorn or two, and they stomped up and down her lawn yelling obscenities. Weaving their way across her front yard, bumping into a few of us standing on the grass. Screaming ‘racist, Nazi’’ you name it. Giving the finger.”
That one incident aside, Gheen said he’s hoping Saturday will go just as smoothly.
“I would say from the looks of the photos I’m uploading here, I think things look really great. I’m seeing a lot of great people and good crowds from all over the place,” he said. “I’m seeing good-looking stuff in San Antonio, Texas, Corinth, Texas, a really good crowd in Richmond, Virginia, a good crowd of white and black Americans standing together in Birmingham, Alabama, and a good crowd on an overpass from Anaheim, California.”
Gheen said the protests were especially commendable given the media blackout from corporate giants like CNN, CBS, NBC and Fox News.
“We have done what we’ve done today without any mainstream media coverage. We had no coverage before the event from Fox or CNN and Fox has just mentioned us in the last half hour,” Gheen told WND about two hours after the protests had ended.
“On MSNBC, we received some disparaging comments on their website calling us anti-immigrant without saying anything about us or telling anyone how to find us or what we really stand for. So the only national coverage on major TV networks we received was getting bashed on MSNBC. I think that’s an important part of the story, while our participants may not be of the size of historic events of the tea parties of 2010, we’ve had good crowds and no coverage from Fox like those events had.”
The energy of the protests was summed up in people like Stockton, who is devoting her whole weekend to the cause with a sense of urgency that something is wrong in America.
“I see the people as they’re taking pictures of us protesting and sending them to their friends, and I hope they’re letting them know they need to be out here too, getting involved,” said the grandmother from Oklahoma.
“This is a very, very serious time for our country, with our president trashing our Constitution. And they need to get their heads out of the sand and get involved,” she said. “Our president has said he’s drawn a red line in the sand. OK, the line has been drawn and we need to stand up for our Constitution and for our land and realize that many of our founders put their lives on the line for that, and that’s what we need to do today. This is America, the country I love, and we’re slowly losing our respect in the world, we’re losing our freedom at home, and it’s time that people we elect do what they’re supposed to do and listen to the people that sent them there. We the people are important.”
That’s why she said she’ll be right back on the street corner tomorrow waving her signs and talking to her fellow Americans about the urgency of the times in which they live.
“There is no place to stop. There is no place to stop,” she said. “We have much to be concerned about; not just the border but Benghazi, the IRS scandal, the veterans scandal.”
She said her husband and her brother are veterans. Her brother, now 69, served in the Marines and became 100 percent disabled in an accident during basic training during the Vietnam War.
“I have a brother who has waited three years to have a hip replacement,” she said. “My brother is disabled and not able to go out and do anything. But he was able to put his life on the line for his country, but it didn’t work out for him, and now he’s waiting for a hip replacement.”