A tale of two demonstrations. That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo." The authorities in Toledo, Ohio, foolishly allowed a small group of Nazis to demonstrate in a neighborhood and the results were predictable.
Scores of mostly black men used the occasion to attack police, loot stores and generally create mayhem. The vile Nazis love to watch these kinds of scenes, more bad behavior on display from groups the Nazis loathe, the better it is for them.
American decision-makers need to wise up. We're living in a time where boundaries are collapsing all over the place. These thugs couldn't care less about a Nazi rally. They wanted to cause trouble and they did.
Public safety trumps freedom of expression. If a group of dopey fascists want to hold a rally, find a field someplace away from the public. You don't let them walk around a neighborhood where kids play. That's disturbing the peace. Again, the authorities have got to smarten up.
Now in Washington, D.C. over the weekend, the Nation of Islam sponsored another million person march. Tens of thousands showed up, so maybe a name change is in order. Turnout was low because the radical agenda of Louis Farrakhan is being rejected by most Americans no matter what their color.
But in stark contrast to Toledo, this demonstration was peaceful and really didn't amount to to much. In an age where educated and hard-working African-Americans are making great economic strides, it's hard to promote a '60s-type protest scenario, and even harder for a guy Farrakhan to see his whacked-out conspiracy theories, like the government blew up the New Orleans levees.
Peaceful demonstrations are, of course, a hallmark of our democracy, but they can be used to manipulate, OK? Now here's an example of the opposite. The Minutemen on the border, that was a good demonstration. They brought a lot of publicity to a huge problem, embarrassing the Bush administration and sharply focusing attention on a bad security situation for everybody in the USA.
But the anti-Iraq march in D.C. fizzled a few weeks ago because it was largely an America-bashing event. Those days are over. Most citizens believe the USA is a good country even when disagreeing with policy.
Now I do admire people who believe in causes and are willing to go public, but once again, nutty Nazis and black power loons should be watched closely and denied the opportunity to do damage to innocent people. Freedom is a great thing but it does come with responsibility.
And that's "The Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Good news and bad news for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (search ). Some Hollywood people turned out for a cold fish and soba noodle lunch, very precious, and gave Mrs. Clinton more than $100,000 for her campaign war chest.
But outside the love fest, the anti-war protestors also showed up, chiding the Senator for supporting the Iraq conflict, holding signs that asked whether she would send Chelsea to Iraq, the usual cheap tactics these people use.
All in all, Senator Clinton continues to raise enormous amounts of money while taking a little heat, which may or may not be ridiculous, depending on your political point of view.