CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider was eager to tout yesterday’s illegal immigration rallies as a "consciousness-raising moment" for Hispanics who harbor "resentment" against those who feel illegal immigration is a serious problem facing the United States. Schneider was discussing the effect of the protests on the 2006 mid-term elections with American Morning co-host Miles O’Brien:
Miles O’Brien: "According to the numbers I’ve seen, Jon Kyl [Republican Senator from Arizona who is up for re-election in 2006] is–has a comfortable margin of lead right now, has taken a pretty conservative stand on immigration. Think those numbers will narrow over this issue?"
Bill Schneider: "Well, that’s what he and probably a lot of people are worried about, namely, what–to what extent are those demonstrators going to become, become is the key word, a political force? They have not been in the past. But this looks like a consciousness-raising moment, because so much of these demonstrations were really spontaneous..."
Schneider went on to explain that the "spontaneous" rallies were organized not by political activists, but at the "grassroots" level. He listed off examples of rally organizers, and it was revealed that, at least for Schneider, union leaders don't fall under the category of "professional activists."
Schneider: "They weren’t organized by politicians or professional activists; they were organized, really, at the grassroots. There were students text messaging each other in their schools, church leaders, union leaders, Spanish radio hosts were urging people to get out and demonstrate, and there were a lot of working families here, not middle class people and, and just political activists."
Schneider then argued that these rallies are a symbol of a "new consciousness" among Hispanics that they are the "scapegoats" for all the problems caused by illegal immigration.
Schneider: "So there was a spontaneous quality that indicated that there’s a new consciousness in the Hispanic community and a resentment over a lot of the issues and the fact that a lot of them feel as if they’re being turned into scapegoats."
O’Brien : "Interesting. Perhaps a sleeping giant has been awakened here."