Sunday's Reform Immigration for America March

Sunday's march was remarkable: a beautiful day, a crowd of about 200,000 and speakers that were really fired up and ready to go. 

Earlier in the day, I'd appeared on MSNBC - first for a hit on the historic health insurance reform vote, and then for another hit on what was supposed to be health care but ended up turning to the subject of The Tea Party and the, well, partiers.  On Saturday, several protesters spat on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), called Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) a 'ni--er,' and called Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) a "faggot."  Charming, no? 

It becomes increasingly difficult for The Tea Party Movement (if it is, in fact, a movement, and not a phenomenon - a movement, afterall, has a clear direction) to conceal the blatant racism that motivates many of its members.  Sure, every group has a few bad apples or renogade mouth-runners, but Saturday's verbal bombs were part of an ongoing pattern of ugly language more telling than any of the "populist" rhetoric the Tea Partiers rely on. 

All of this to say that while sitting in the MSNBC studio, listening to the anchor out of New York through my IFB dedicate much of our segment to a movement that, in reality, is not very large, my brain synapsed to this: we have 200,000 people coming to march in Washington, DC - some who travelled on 16 hour long bus trips- so that they could express their frustration with a broken immigration system in a peaceful and respectful way and we're dedicating our time and energy to talking about people who are straight-up hateful?!  What sense does that make?  In as much as it's time for the Republican party to denounce the tea partiers, it is time for them to turn their attention to the serious business of joining Democrats in reforming our immigration system.  Senator Graham (R-SC) has already stepped up.  Who will be next? 

The speakers, most notably Rep. Gutierrez (D-IL) and Senator Menendez (D-NJ), did a great job of connecting the average American's life - the food we eat, and the garments we wear - to the work and sacrifice of immigrant America.  For those of us who are first or second generation Americans, the speeches were heavy with the weight of our debt.  We have each come to this wonderful country from somewhere else, and that journey from there to here, buoyed by the strength to leave and begin anew is a powerful reminder of how and why we must continue this push for real reform.  The bravery of those who have come before us should remind us, as President Obama did last night, that we as a nation "are still capable of doing great things."

Senator Menendez introduced this video from President Obama.  Needless to say, the crowd went wild.