The protests are part of a campaign by the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP). The students are from TFP Student Action. They went to the streets in classic TFP style to alert the public to the serious dangers in the flawed reasoning promoted by socialism.
These street campaigns were very visible in part due to the large banners that read: “May God protect America from socialism.” Smaller posters invite passing vehicles to “Honk for true freedom from Socialism.” So, as one might imagine, as soon as a traffic light would turn green, a symphonic eruption of honking horns began. Add to this a bagpiper playing patriotic music, and that attracts yet further attention.
As with every campaign, every conceivable person is encountered and they typically fall into three basic categories: enthusiastic, indifferent and hateful. A lady paused at an intersection, rolled down her car window and said: “I am happy to see you out here dressed like that. You represent me and I am proud of you!” One of our volunteers gave her a copy of the TFP flier, 10 Reasons to Reject Socialism, and she drove away extremely pleased.
Campaign in Houston
Although Houston is a large sprawling city, the streets downtown are relatively devoid of foot traffic. However, after scanning the city, we found a broad mix of people ranging from lawyers to construction workers near the courthouse, and this is where we started.
Texans tend to be decisive. “Let me see what you got!” said one gentleman as he stopped his car in the middle of the street, removed his seat belt and left the vehicle to pick up one of our fliers, 10 Reasons to Reject Socialism.
”Right on!” said another, visibly pleased with the campaign.
Like Children in an Ice Cream Shop
“Thank you for doing this,” said a passerby. “It’s about time someone does something about Socialism instead of just talking about it.” Many people drove by and honked their horns with broad smiles on their faces. TFP member Charles Sulzen described the overwhelming support we received in very succinct terms. “They see the campaign and smile like children in an ice cream shop.”
It is worthwhile to mention that some new volunteers in their teens have joined us from Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas after hearing about the TFP caravans at one of our Call to Chivalry summer camps where they had asked to participate.
Many families here have gone out of their way to provide assistance during our travels by providing delicious lunches, and a dinner was hosted at a local Catholic Church hall. During dinner a group of Knights of Columbus gathered to hear more about the TFP campaigns. But not all encounters were supportive.
Meeting a Radical Egalitarian
“So, tell me, what do you find so objectionable about socialism,” asked a woman sporting a rather short hair cut, holding a thin folder and a copy of the TFP flier. “There are many reasons to oppose socialism,” I replied. “Stealing from the rich to give to the poor is one of many; it’s not right.
Not only is it wrong to steal, but wherever socialism and Communism are imposed, the poor only become poorer. Just look at the countries, like Cuba, Vietnam, China, Russia and Venezuela where the egalitarian ideology rules and private property has been destroyed.”
As soon as I mentioned egalitarianism, the woman jolted as if she had received an electric shock. “You’re against egalitarianism?!” she said in absolute astonishment. “I’m a Catholic social worker, and I have first hand experience how white males are abusive and violent and have too much power,” she said. I quickly realized that I was talking to a real leftist Catholic. “The fact that men sometimes act as they shouldn’t does not mean manhood is bad, it just means that the moral order in society is eroding,” I responded. “Besides, doing away with the role of men in society to avoid cases of abuse would be similar to doing away with food to avoid cases of obesity.”
Next she asked: “Do you think men and woman are equal?” “No,” I responded. “Just consider the demands of serving in the Special Forces, an all-male force. In fact, the idea of radical equality is just what Judge Walker in California is using to deny natural law and claim that one man, one woman marriage is unconstitutional.” At this point, the woman’s facial muscles began quivering with anger and she stormed away.
The Northcross Mall
Right after unfurling our banners near the Northcross Mall in Austin, the reactions began. “God bless America,” one lady said as she drove past, followed by an unintelligible, sinister sort of guttural grunt from a different car with someone who uttered, “God is dead.” These two opposite reactions, a few seconds apart, reveal the great division within our nation. We clearly see two distinct Americas: One that is for God and another that hates Him. As it so happens, that those who favor socialism display animosity toward God as is frequently witnessed.
“This is the answer”
“I’ve been wondering what I can do for our country and this is the answer,” said a Texan man brimming with enthusiasm for the TFP campaign. Unlike other states where we’ve campaigned before, a good number of Texans who see the campaign are not just content with honking their horns and waving. They frequently pull off the road, get out of their car and approach us to shake hands and personally give encouragement.
“This is the first time I see someone address the real problem of socialism,” remarked a gentleman who had pulled off the road for a copy of our flier 10 Reasons to Reject Socialism. “The Tea Party doesn’t address it and I want to help you in any way I possibly can.” As he gave us his business card, he added: “I’m even willing to hand over my entire paycheck to stop the advance of socialism.”
One more car pulled over. This time an older man with graying hair stepped out of his car and into the blazing sun with a heat index of 104 degrees. “Who are you?” he asked. “Tradition, Family and Property,” answered one of our caravan members. He took in the scene of our banners waving in the wind, took a flier, paused for a brief moment and said: “Like the Crusades. Keep it up!”
Double Thumbs Up
Very few passing vehicles merely honk in response to our signs. Most honk in support, then immediately give a thumbs up or even two thumbs up. However, there are the cowards that make obscene gestures as they speed away, but not many. The support is definitely dominant. For example, a man driving a pick up truck slowed down at the intersection and handed us a big package of bottled water. In this heat, water is a welcome contribution.
At evening Mass we met an energetic Catholic nun who had escaped from Vietnam in the seventies. She kindly gave us a tour of a church built in honor of the Vietnamese martyrs. At the conclusion of the visit, she inquired where we planned to have dinner and was somewhat surprised with our lack of plans and invited us to a Chinese restaurant, where the younger caravan members attempted to eat with chopsticks and shied away from trying the squid.
More important than overcoming the fear of squid was the conversation. The good sister told us how she had escaped from communism on a 25-foot long boat loaded with 150 people. The infants on board were given sleeping pills and put in fish crates or compartments beneath the deck. Food was scarce and she went three days without eating anything. If the Communist Vietnamese had discovered them, everyone on board would have been arrested, sent to forced labor camps or just killed.
During this harrowing experience everyone on the boat was praying the rosary. She reached Malaysia and finally the United States. She also spoke about the persecution of the Catholic Church in Vietnam, which only underscored the need to oppose socialism in America, as communism and socialism are ideologically identical.