What causes people to choose one side over another side with vehement enthusiasm?

Have you ever wondered how an uprising starts? Like what causes people to choose one side over another side with vehement enthusiasm. To the point where it is almost maddening? We see this happen a lot in television shows and movies that we watch. In Game of Thrones, we see this happen time and time again:

“Let’s join Rob Stark and the North!”
“Let’s protect King’s Landing and Joefry!”
“Let’s follow the Mother of Dragons!”
“Let’s have a smoke baby with the Red Witch!”

Or in the Walking Dead:

“Let’s join Rick’s group!”
“Let’s join the Governor’s group!”
“Let’s join Neegan’s group!”
“Let’s join the walkers!”

Two of those (can you guess which ones?) probably not so much but you catch my drift. Everyone wants to be part of the bigger picture. Sometimes this want is something that for some folks is larger than life.

Captain America – Civil War will be out in theaters this weekend and we will see what causes some heroes to choose Cap’s side or Iron Man’s side. Will it be wise words that persuade them? Or will their hearts make the choice? Or will they be bullied into choosing a side? Will their actions be what ultimately causes their demise?

Mexicali is a nice place.

Mexicali is a nice place. They have heat. And tacos. That is pretty much it. Oh wait… they also have the BEST Spanish Christian Youth Rallies!

In my hay day, I went to a lot of church functions. Most were local, but every once in a while, we would go to some not so local events that were truly life changing. So, when I was younger, I went to Mexicali with my church for this weekend long Youth Rally. I had never been to Mexicali before that and I was excited to see another Mexican city other than Tijuana. At this point in my life, I thought that T.J. was as south of the border Mexico got. I later found out that I was completely mistaken.

The people who went included myself, my friend Robert who back then was younger but also a little more ghetto, a then recently retired band god Carlo, who I’ve lovingly renamed Conrad for this story, Eddie White, and a few others whose names escape me at the moment. I knew that it would be fun but what I didn’t know is that I would finally understand what Enrique Iglesias meant when his mole romanced us all with his lyrics “como una experiencia religiosa”.

A religious phenomenon that we would later name “1-2-3 kid”.

Now don’t get me wrong, I was ready to get rocked by J.C. that weekend. My little young heart was thirsty for some Jesus juice (non-MJ style of course). Little did I know that the rockin’ process would be done by a religious phenomenon that we would later name “1-2-3 kid”.

We got to the venue where the rally was taking place. It looked like a college basketball arena. It might have been a cock fighting arena but I wouldn’t have known the difference. This place was jam packed though. There wasn’t an empty seat on the floor. And the bleachers were getting filled quickly. We we’re rolling pretty deep that night. I mean, it was our entire church youth group. We found some open seating in the back rafters and sat down to witness one of the greatest, most maddening uprisings I’d ever seen.

There was a worship band that played and they were pretty good. I don’t know if they were part of the local Mexicalian church that put the event together but they got down. There was an M.C. who spoke who was pretty good as well. Eloquent enough that we understood, but still Mexicalian enough that we didn’t forget where we were. Then the man of the hour came on stage. El 1-2-3 kid. This guy was dressed in what looked to be an all-white linen suit. I mean, we were in Mexicali where it gets to be triple digits in no time flat. When he came out on to the stage, the first thing he did was apologize for the band not doing their job. Literally said, “I want to apologize for the band. Apparently they decided to not do their job tonight.”. He said all this in Spanish which for some reason made it sound harsher. He then told them to get off the stage, took a guitar and started singing with his wife. He was doing the job that he said the band didn't do....allegedly. Then he stopped in the middle of the song and put his mouth up to the mic and said straight to his wife “Stop singing. If you aren’t going to do it with all your heart just stop and leave”. What was a trip was that after he said that, she obeyed and just left. He finished the music set without the band or his wife. After he finished rocking out he started his preaching. This guy was a pompous religious bully. An official holy sh--

So he starts screaming from the top of his lungs “preaching” and basically telling everyone how terrible they are. Then in the middle he stops and says the the following:

"I am going to count to 3..."

“I am going to count to 3. If you love the Lord and want his Holy Spirit, on the count of 3 you need to run up to the stage as fast as you can. Ready? 1............2.............3”

The fanatics ran!

The fanatics ran! The bullied-into-believing ran! The not-sure-if-they-should-run- but-were- scared-to-be-judged-for-not-running...ran. “STOP!” cried out El 1-2- 3 Kid. Everyone halted where they stood. Some closer to the stage than others. Some worried they weren’t close enough and some bewildered as to why they even got up in the first place. “Those of you who didn’t make it to the stage, don’t love God enough, nor want his Holy Spirit in your life!”

After he said this, I actually saw some people disappointed in themselves for not making it up to the front on time! It was such a wild scene! He shooed away those who weren’t “close enough” and let those who were, stand closer to him.

Then he started to pray for people. People were hanging on his every word. All of a sudden, in the middle of his prayer he says, “There are some people in this place who are having sex. And even had sex before they came here. I want you people to stand up and come up here so I can pray for you. And there are some people in here who are contemplating homosexuality. Come up here also!" 

For some reason Robert and Conrad looked at me to see if I was going to go up there. The bastards! I wasn't sure if they thought I was going to go up for the sex thing or the homosexuality thing. Either way, I wasn’t going to go up there. What’s funny is that our Pastor at the time looked at the three of us and said, “If any of you go up there, you’re in for a LONG weekend”.

 I wanted to join his movement of repentance

He then started walking around the room and pointing people out! This has now turned into Mr. Toad's Wild Ride minus the frog and the tourists! “You had sex last night – repent. You are gay – repent. You watch porn – repent…” He kept inching closer and closer to where I was sitting and I almost felt the urge to repent. Even though I didn’t know why I would repent. I just felt like his words were appealing enough that I wanted to join his movement of repentance.

I didn’t end up repenting with El 1-2-3 Kid

I didn’t end up repenting with El 1-2-3 Kid that night. We left the arena before he finished his set. I always wondered what his grand finale was. Maybe he birthed a smoke baby on stage only to have it repent for being born a bastard. I will never know.

We went back to our hotel that night, ordered Mexicalian pizza, and discussed the events that had just transpired. Just FYI -this pizza had refried beans instead of marinera sauce and chorizo instead of pepperoni. My ass was spitting fire like I was the father of dragons. 

What was he fighting for?

El 1-2- 3 Kid gained many followers that evening. People who believed in his cause. No matter how wild, it seemed to a young lad such as myself. People went mad to get up to that stage to prove that they were worthy of being part of his army. What was he fighting for? Hell if I will ever know. I just know that an uprising began that night. How it ended, only time will tell.

Long live El 1-2-3 Kid.

F. Rian More

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