Thursday, March 30, 2006

Good Morning: Well, I had an interesting commute this morning. I ride my bicycle to work most days. And the route I take passes by an Arlington high school. Today there were about 100 Hispanic students skipping school and engaging in some sort of protest.

They were coaxing cars passing by to honk their horns in support of their cause. I was minding my own and waiting for traffic to clear when I heard one of the students shouting, "Ring your bell! Ring your bell!"

It finally dawned on me that he was talking to me. I guess he assumed that I had one of those bells many bicyclists attach to their handlebars. Unfortunately, I do not. So I turned his way and informed him that I had no bell with which to ring. Sorry.

That didn't seem to satisfy him or the crowd, and suddenly they all began chanting louder. Now I'm not 100 percent sure what they were saying, but it sounded exactly like, "Seize that bike! Seize that bike!"

By this time the cops were running up and the traffic cleared for me to cross the street. None of the students actually approached me to confiscate mi bicicleta. But it was a little disconcerting nonetheless.

I'm a little skeptical about the national protests that have been going on. And I'm too cynical to believe students are skipping school solely for the greater good. But overall I sympathize with the plight of immigrants. These people risk their lives to come to this country for one reason -- to work. President Bush's guest-worker plan makes some sense, although the plan is far from perfect. And I don't see the need for any sort of immigrant crackdown.

That said, these protesters need to be a little smarter. Any antagonism or vague threats will only backfire. After my experience this morning, I feel less of a need to sympathize for their cause.


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