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  • Writer's pictureGabriel San Roman

Slingshot: Lou Correa Earns Grudging Respect in MAGA Heckler Standoff!

Updated: Jan 12, 2021

Newly elected to congress in 2016, Democrat Lou Correa showed himself to be more of a stipulatory statesman by deciding to attend the inauguration of President Donald Trump. More than a dozen of his colleagues, including the late congressman John Lewis, pledged to skip the event in protest of the incoming bigot-in-chief.

With Trump's vow to deport millions of undocumented immigrants while building a wall along the Mexican border, a chorus of criticism greeted Correa's decision. He answered to it a day before the inauguration.

"The presidency is about our nation and our constitution, not an individual," said Correa in a press release at the time. "This inauguration is another event in a line of peaceful transitions of power that are the hallmark of our country."

As the popular meme goes: that was how it started...

Four years later, Correa found himself at Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C. waiting to board a flight home to the 46th congressional district in Orange County that he represents.

Correa, a zacatecano who grew up in Anaheim's rugged Penguin City barrio, probably couldn't wait to get the hell out of the nation's capital.

The day before, Trump whipped up his red-hat wearing masses into violent insurrection under the conspiratorial fog of a "stolen" election. Rather than peaceably accept the will of the voters, they poured into the halls of the Capitol building where a number of Republican congressional members and senators objected to the formal Jan. 6 electoral vote count in Democrat Joe Biden's favor.

The more militant among the marauders had little appetite for such theatrics; they carried zip ties and broke into congressional offices with heinous intentions.

During the breach, Correa took cover along with the rest of his colleagues. A portrait of the congressman clutching a seat on the house floor with a dour gaze captured the fragility of formal democracy in that moment.

Security detail ushered law makers to safety just three minutes before a Capitol Policeman shot and killed pro-Trump insurrectionist Ashli Babbitt as she tried to force her way into the Speaker's Lobby, one of five people to die in the failed coup.

"President Trump has proven today that he is a Dictator," said Correa in a Jan. 6 press release. "He has incited American citizens to storm the US Capitol in the middle of fulfilling our job of certifying the 2020 presidential election results."

To finish off the meme: this is how it's going...

But the MAGA mob wasn't done with Correa, yet. In the aftermath of insurrection, a handful of Trumpers began heckling him with phones out at the airport terminal.

"How does it feel to invade the Capitol of the United States?" Correa asked angrily.

"The police let antifa in," a Trumper quickly declared, retreating behind a new conspiracy about the siege. "They opened the doors."

Correa stood his ground alone amid shouting matches when another man confronted him.

"Who are you?" he growled behind a bandana.

"Who are you?" Correa retorted.

"I'm me, motherfucker!" he answered.

"And I'm me, too!" Correa said.

(Real "Age of Enlightenment" shit, I know!)

The congressman squared up, ready for anything. No liberal leva, he found his spine like Doug Bukowski at the end of The Hills Have Eyes. And just like that, the Trumper walked away after having his bluff called.

But the pandemonium continued for a little while longer. Correa touted his own overwhelming electoral victory only to have the MAGA mob shrill "Dominion!" in response.

That goes to show how behind the times Trumpers really are. Crying conspiracy over an election victory in CA-46 is so 1996! Just ask "B-1" Bob Dornan who blamed his loss to Loretta Sanchez on a baseless claim that undocumented immigrants illegally voted for her.

And in ganging up on Correa, they tried to tar-and-feather a moderate Democrat who shows about as much interest in Medicare for All as they do.

So where did he find his steely resolve when the moment called for it?

Was it from facing off with pro-Trump hecklers during an immigration town hall at Santa Ana's Delhi Center in 2017? Or was it from facing off with pro-immigrant grassroots activists who protested him from the left? Maybe it was from dealing with asshole diners when he worked as a waiter at the Tony Roma's that once stood on Harbor Boulevard in Fullerton.

Either way, Correa made SanTanaheim proud by not taking any shit from Trumpers at the airport and became an unlikely anti-MAGA folk hero for a day in these very uncertain times.

- Gabriel San Román

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Your Mouse Muckraker / Photo by Federico Medina

Mouse Muckraker

When Richard Snow published Disney's Land: Walt Disney and the Invention of the Amusement Park that Changed the World in December 2019, he could've never imagined that the Mouse House would be shuttered within months by a microscopic virus. But if the pandemic has provided some idle time, now is as good as ever to take in his tome.

The longtime editor of American Heritage magazine tells a well-told tale about how Disney defied doubters and created a masterpiece of an amusement park. Fluid in pace and poignant in prose, Snow sets the scene with a gripping introduction that takes readers into the morning of Disneyland's opening on July 17, 1955, a day so disastrous it's forever dubbed "Black Sunday."

He recreates the ruckus--from a plumbers' strike that forced Walt to sacrifice working water fountains in favor of flushing toilets to painters sealing his firehouse station apartment door shut with a rushed coat--in showing that the Happiest Place on Earth's big day went off with more than a few hitches.

From there, Snow paints a more flattering portrait--one that borders on Walt worship (the author even finds a way to wiggle out of the charges of the Dumbo crows being racist) and is chalk-full of factoids. The genesis for Disney's grand experiment in Anaheim are many, from a train he built at his home, to a bench by a carousel at Griffith Park and, finally, to hard feelings of personal betrayal from the animators' strike in 1941.

The book chronicles the triumph of imagination that brought Disneyland to life afterward. Stories the likes of how autopia got up and chugging and the jungle cruise set sail are abundant. It's a piece-by-piece recounting of the construction of Disneyland, one that begins to be too singular in its focus as the read drags on. Snow inserts a recounting of his first boyhood visit, a departure that feels disjointed early on, and concludes with an array of appraisals of the park that's too brief to be satisfying.

As Snow readily acknowledges, there's a wealth of literature on Disneyland already. He provides a robust bibliography at the end, but never cited from it. In this vast Disney library, Snow's contribution is noteworthy in its eloquent expression.

Disnerds lament that it presents nothing new. Even still, for the uninitiated reader, Disney's Land is as good of a primer as there is to start with.

By the Byline

As promised, my first Off the Page column for LibroMobile arrived this weekend to kick off the New Year. With the indie bookstore's 3rd annual Literary Arts Festival coming up, I decided to profile Apollo Bebop, the musical guests for the online event.

The jazz/hip-hop quintet from Santa Ana first formed in 2015. Since then, they've become one of the hardest working bands in Juice County. But the routine of playing at least one show a week (more often two!) came to a grinding halt last year. Apollo Bebop pivoted by releasing a new album and devising an interesting Pacific Coast tour.

Check out the feature and tune into the festival!

Lead photo: Congressman Correa / Courtesy

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