Tuesday’s New York Times celebrated the Communist holiday May Day in its own predictable way, signing on to whatever the left was marching in outrage about this year. This time around the goals seemed a bit confused, beyond inchoate hatred for the elected president, but the paper enthusiastically played along with the “extraordinary” gatherings anyway: “On May Day, Marchers Fight for Myriad Goals,” by Jennifer Medina and Vivian Yee.
At the White House, President Trump had proclaimed May 1 to be “Loyalty Day,” a time for Americans to reaffirm their commitment to “individual liberties, to limited government and to the inherent dignity of every human being” with Pledge of Allegiance ceremonies and a display of American flags.
Some Americans had other plans.
Were all the marchers actually American citizens? Doubtful.
In major cities and dozens of smaller communities, protesters marched for immigrants, for workers, for women and for others, grafting their myriad pleas onto a day traditionally reserved for the cause of laborers around the world.
Many surrendered a shift’s pay. Labor and immigrants’ rights activists, criticizing Mr. Trump’s detention and deportation agenda, had called for a general strike on May 1, also known as May Day, to emphasize the overlap between the concerns of unauthorized immigrants -- on whom farms, restaurants, construction projects and other industries depend -- and those of workers.
The reporters mentioned violence in passing, while blaming “anarchist groups,” not the actual protesters, for violence (funny how “anarchist groups” never showed up at the massive Tea Party rallies).
One of the marches, in Portland, Ore., was ended by the police after some protesters threw rocks, lead balls, smoke bombs and full cans of Pepsi at officers. The police blamed anarchist groups -- which have disrupted other protests since the election -- for destroying a police car, attacking officers, damaging windows and starting fires. More than two dozen people were arrested.
But most of the day’s events were peaceful. In Grand Rapids, Mich., more than 4,000 people -- twice the number of people who sat out jobs and school days in Grand Rapids on February’s nationwide “Day Without Immigrants” -- had turned out in the rain by midafternoon, closing large sections of the city’s Latino community. Bakeries, markets, restaurants and clothing stores had shuttered for the day out of solidarity or for lack of workers.
In Homestead, Fla., where immigrant farmworkers keep fields of zucchini, beans, cherry tomatoes and okra growing, over 1,000 people marched from a park to City Hall. Many were not sure how employers would react when they returned to work on Tuesday. Local activists had planned to accompany farmworkers back to their jobs to offer support.
After surveying protests in cities across the country, Medina and Yee threw in a couple of mildly disdainful paragraphs of dissent:
Still, for at least one limousine driver, taking the day off was simply unaffordable. As he bought coffee and a pastry at a Dominican bakery in Washington Heights, Fernando Garcia, 49, explained that because he was a partner in his company, they all had to contribute equally or the business would suffer.
Then it was back to hitting the anti-Trump “refrain” (seriously, these folks have a lot of spare time).
As May Day commemorations go, Monday’s turnout was extraordinary. But in a crowded calendar of anti-Trump dissent -- after January’s Women’s March, late April’s March for Science and Saturday’s People’s Climate March -- the scenes and chants took on the quality of a refrain.
Across the street from City Hall, dozens of police officers separated a few dozen Trump supporters from the protesters as they shouted bitterly at one another.
But don’t question their patriotism!
It was still Loyalty Day, and the members of the pro-Trump counterprotest began reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The protesters joined in. When it had ended, they were still shouting the last words: “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. For all. For all.”
It’s worth noting that one of the three photos accompanying the story showed a piñata of President Trump being whacked. The Times editorial page in March 2016 was shocked and appalled that a Republican senator predicted any Obama Supreme Court nominee would be treated like a piñata, and said such “violent imagery” made Sen. John Cornyn a “thug, threatening harm.”
Reporter Alan Rappeport casually referenced in an April 2016 story that a hard-left group, ANSWER had organized a protest of Trump’s Costa Mesa rally and that “A Trump piñata will be smashed to mark the occasion.” So using “piñata” as a metaphor against Democrats is dangerous, but actually building and using one against a Republican is totally fine.