Standing on Manatee Avenue Tuesday morning for our regular Action Tuesday demonstration against the detention camps on our southern border, along with many supportive words and gestures our small group of protesters experienced the usual gamut of negative comments: two cries of “Trump 2020,” one “Build that wall,” and in a nice throwback to the 1960s, “Love it or leave it.”
But one comment in particular stuck with me. A white gentleman got stopped in his pickup by the stoplight and the traffic, and he yelled to us, “Go back to ...,” and then he had to pause. Facing our little band of one woman with Native American heritage, two white females and one summer-tan Jewish guy, our heckler couldn’t quite figure out where to send us back to.
Maybe the one woman holding a sign that said, “No one is illegal in a stolen country” confused him. Or maybe it was the two white females. Or maybe it was the Jew with a tan that makes him look vaguely Latino, or possibly Italian, or maybe even (wait for it) American.
The heckler finally figured out how to finish his taunt: “Go back to ... wherever you came from.” We smiled and waved as he drove off – because we all came from the United States of America, and because in our group of four we demonstrated a small slice of the vast diversity of this nation.
And it is that diversity that actually makes our nation great -- and makes it the land I love above all others. And because I do love it, I will continue, like the members of The Squad, to ask our nation to improve by living up to its ideals. This is what democracy looks like, after all.