John Howting, howtinjm@muohio.edu

On Thursday, April 21, I went to the “Keep Miami University Public Rally” behind Shriver, a very public outdoors location. I went for a few reasons, the first reason being that I was invited. I was given a flier with all the event information and nowhere on this flier did the words “College Democrats” appear. In fact, according to the flier this was “an MU Defend Ohio event.”  I was and am all for “defending Ohio” and “keeping Miami public” so I decided to go to the rally. 

I also went to this rally because I had never heard of a group on campus called “MU defend Ohio.” I was curious to see just how “anti-privatization” this group was. I even made a petition that read in bold black letters: “We want to ban all privatization Period!” and friends of mine told me that there would most likely be students who were critical of my on campus activism (seven guest speaker’s total). 

I was also told many student activists who recently went to Washington, DC to “show support for Planned Parenthood” would be there. This last point perked my interest. I could recall Lila Rose’s and James O’Keefe’s Planned Parenthood investigations where they found Planned Parenthood employees willing to accept donations for “abortions of African-American babies.” I could recall members of Miami’s Pro-Choice club going to the kick-off meeting for True Feminists (a conservative Feminist group) and defending Margaret Sanger. Keep in mind Sanger was an advocate of Eugenics. In fact, in Edwin Black’s book War Against the Weak there is a picture of one issue of a magazine titled Eugenics: A journal of racial betterment and just below the title of the magazine is Margaret Sanger’s name. I was curious to see if there was a similar racist sentiment at this rally. 

I decided to do a little investigative journalism to satisfy my curiosity. I completely changed my look. I cut my normally long hair very short; I put on a fake tan, glasses and a Bob Marley T-shirt. Granted, I have used fake tan and donned my Bob Marley T-shirt before, but not that often. I decided to pose as a Hispanic American named Jugo Marnez to see if racially intolerant members of “MU Defend Ohio” would throw me out. And, I brought my petition to see how anti-privatization they were. 

So what happened? I talked to one man who boisterously compared President Hodge to Adolf Hitler and said “he (Hodge) learns from the fascist school”; I saw members of the “LaRouche Democrats” who incessantly compare President Barack Obama to Hitler; I collected several signatures before two men crossed their names off after I more thoroughly explained the petition to them and the other signees were led by the hand back to the petition and instructed to cross their names off by the lady who had organized, and was running, the rally. I was stunned to see people being commanded like a herd without free will, “cross your name off.” One lady even crossed several names off for other persons … how “democratic” right? 

The organizer said what I was doing was “offensive” and implied that it was racist. Actually, it’s called “acting” and good acting is a part of good investigative journalism (but I will admit that this was really bad acting). Several persons who kept asking in McCarthy-like fashion if I was or had ever been “a member of college Republicans” confronted me. Some of the attendees had recognized me and wanted me to leave because I had passed out fliers with College Republicans the previous day. Oddly enough, I am NOT a registered member of College Republicans (stop the Red-Hunt), I had passed out fliers with College Republicans because I agreed with them on the issue that they were addressing in said flier. I thought the rally was about “keeping Miami Public,” not promoting every piece of College Democrat’s agenda. What exactly was going on?  Why could I not peacefully collect signatures in this public setting as others were?

One gentleman said to me, “You’re wearing a Bob Marley T-shirt. You are representing the worst part of our movement.” I was taken aback by this comment. I had worn the exact same T-shirt the previous day while passing out fliers with College Republicans and they had no issue with my T-shirt. Why was the image of Bob Marley so repulsive to College Democrats / “MU defend Ohio?”

Several persons identifying themselves as “members of college Democrats” finally informed me that Colleges Democrats had “reserved the area” and were kicking me out. It was a College Democrat rally after all and no non-Democrats were allowed. 

I had no idea that you could kick someone out of a public location; force someone to cross their name off on a petition and cross other person’s names off for them. How “democratic” right? 

Keep in mind; I took on a different identity primarily because I did not want to be recognized.  There is nothing “racist” about investigative journalism.  In another separate investigation I posed as a Celtic-American with more pale skin and a very Celtic name, it’s called “ACTING.”

I was kicked out; however, the LaRouche Democrats who incessantly compare President Obama to Hitler, who were tabling in front of Shriver right up until the rally started, were not kicked out.  The man who compared President Hodge to Hitler was not kicked out. Neither President Hodge nor President Obama ever waged genocide, that comparison is disgusting. As someone with relatives who laid their lives on the line to fight Nazism, I am disgusted. I was told this was a College Democrats event, and if it in fact was, then the College Democrats organization owes an apology to the Jewish community. 

Towards the end of my stay one board member of College Democrats asked me, “Aren’t you that guy from college Republicans?” I said, “I am not registered with CR’s. I simply agree with them on some social issues.” She responded, “That’s why I just do not want to talk to you.”  Ladies and gentlemen … behold: the new face of tolerance.

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