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Hate Is Not Activism?

March 2nd has always held a special place in my heart. Besides being the day before my birthday, it is also, and more importantly, Texas Independence Day. On March 2, 1836 the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed, declaring Texas an independent nation. Modeled on the Declaration Independence penned 60 years earlier, it signaled that the Texas Revolution from Mexico, which had started in 1835 with the battle of Gonzales and concluded in April of 1836 with Santa Anna’s defeat at San Jacinto, embodied many of the same egalitarian ideals of the American Revolution. In my opinion, it is a day that in these politically correct times does not receive the amount of attention it should, for fear of offending Mexican Americans (this, despite the fact that many of the Texans fighting for independence were native Mexicans such as Juan Seguin).

Last Wednesday, March 2nd, the Young Conservative’s of Texas (YCT), a student group at The University of Texas at Austin that is a lighting-rod for criticism (and usually rightfully so), held a celebration for Texas Independence Day on the West Mall of the University’s main campus. However, when they got there, instead of handing out cake in peace to passersby to celebrate the 169th anniversary of the Texas Declaration of Independence, the YCT was met by a crowd of angry, hollering, cussing, and physically intimidating students who were protesting their presence in the designated free speech zone (isn’t it sad that UT had to designate a zone for free speech?) on campus. Why all the outrage over a little cake to celebrate Texas Independence Day?

While the YCT was planning this event, rumors began to swirl among other (predominately liberal oriented) student organizations that the YCT was going to be staging an “Illegal Immigrant Hunt” on March 2nd to protest the Immigration Bill that President Bush has proposed. These rumors started because the University of North Texas chapter of YCT had staged a similar event a few weeks prior at their campus in Denton, and the UT YCT chapter had initially planned to hold a hunt here in Austin before coming to their senses. But that didn’t keep the rest of the University from jumping to conclusions, and staging a protest against the very presence of the YCT on Texas Independence Day, regardless of the actual content of the YCT event.

Let me take a moment here to say that most of the time, the YCT gets under my skin, and I’m a conservative. Their publicity stunts backfire more often than not, and provide examples of the negative stereotypes about conservatives and conservatism that are all to often bandied about in so called “civil discourse.” And honestly, the rhetoric of the YCT is often un-thoughtout, reactionary, and childish, but hey, they're a college group, not elected officials. Despite these facts, I still am happy to let them have a voice here at UT, just as I am happy to let the University Democrats, the Young Socialists, and even the crazy Larouche-ites have a voice here. And no group deserves to be physically and verbally abused for simply expressing their beliefs in a peaceful manner, no matter how absurd or personally repugnant you may find those beliefs.

The over reaction to a non-existent event was so extreme that it was even covered by several statewide newspapers. You can read about last week's events in the Austin American-Statesman, the Houston Chronicle, and the San Antonio Express-News. If you want a slightly less reputable source, you can also read about it in the University of Texas' school newspaper, the Daily Texan.

The greatest irony of the day was that the main protest against the-event-that-never-happened, which called itself “Hate is Not Activism,” actually spawned the secondary protests that involved the hollering and cussing groups who took it upon themselves to hurl any available objects at the YCT members present on the West Mall and threaten them with physical violence. The actions of these smaller groups, who were misinformed about the purpose of the YCT event on Texas Independence Day by the publicity for the “Hate is Not Activism” protest, showed that the only hate on display last Wednesday was being aimed at the YCT, not coming from them.

Posted by · 7 March 2005 11:51 PM


I remember a few years ago when MeCHa (or however they spell that) went to the YCT Texas Independence Day celebration, ate the cake, and then vomited it all over the place, ruining the whole event. MeCha believes the entire SW part of the U.S. ought to be part of Mexico.

Posted by: Will Franklin at March 8, 2005 04:01 PM

UH Liberal Hater here...while I take exception to your characterization of YCT's events always backfiring (selling a conservative idea to the likes of the Chronicle or the Texan is never an easy task), I agree with your assesment of the physical violence. If that had been YCT threatening a gay group, those behind the violence would have been arrested and they would be verbally flogged on every state and national news program. Especially with the damning evidence in the form of video floating around the net.

Posted by: UH Liberal Hater at March 8, 2005 05:19 PM