I just happened to be home today and turned on CSPAN and realized the “One Nation” rally was getting ready to begin. I had heard about this rally through the Ed Schultz show as he had continually talked about it on both his TV and radio show. Here is Big Eddy talking about it on his show. It’s rather long but you should at least watch through his little exclamation about Rahm Emanuel. Rahm left the president on Friday but probably according to the labor unions, he should have left long ago!
As the rally opened they had a local hip-hop choir group which made me want to go to the store like I had planned. I guess it was entertainment to fill time but I seriously didn’t get the point. I hung around and caught Ed. Ed was loud and seemed to be used to rev up the crowd with how we are “One Nation”. Ed was like one of those loud, screaming Baptist preachers. He’s either going to convert you with words or scare you into converting. After Ed was some lame ad about One Nation working together.
Comparisons surely will be made between the Glenn Beck rally and this one. To me it looks like both rallies have managed to get a rather large crowd to attend each rally. Midway through this rally they reported that according to some satellite picture this rally is bigger and growing than Beck’s rally. Both of these rallies tried to channel Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with his words. Both have a clearly different dream of what they want to see happen in this country. Beck’s rally was about awarding medals to some people and honoring them as individuals. As I recall it was to restore “honor” to America. The implication was that President Obama has some how dishonored our country. This rally seems to be about sharing the problems facing the American people and saying, “We stand with you!” The speeches are tied to the writings of Jesus. The tone is one of that takes on the concept that what happens to the least of my brothers, happens to me. This seems to be the concept behind the “One Nation” rally. It actually could be billed as restoring honor to the American people that have been dishonored by the system and corporations! This rally has allowed people to bring signs whereas the Glenn Beck rally didn’t want any signs for some reason. One of the most dominant signs I noticed was one that said, “Jobs, Not War!”
This rally is designed to get Democrats in the mood to vote in November. The people attending the rally are to go back to their homes and help rally others to support the Democrats. One nation is working together but not the Republicans because they’re the party of “No”.
Leave it to Al Sharpton to get the party rocking. “One nation under God” is what he said we were. He talked about the same things but he really revved up he crowd. There was talk about bailing out the American people. The thought was if the government can bailout corporations, then they can surely bailout the American people when they are having hard times. There was a comparison to what is spent on education and what is spent on defense. I believe 5% of what goes to defense was the figure that was said goes to education.
A native American comic, Charlie Hill, spoke but some of his jokes were a little flat as the rally doesn’t seem to be about bashing people like Palin but building up the American worker. I think he didn’t get that memo. The most interesting thing he said was that we’ve been fighting terrorism a long time; all the way back to 1492. I thought truer words were never spoken. Columbus gets all kinds of glory from us today but if we were taught the real history of his voyage and the “conquering” of America, we wouldn’t be so kind to him.
After Charlie were many workers and even unemployed people looking for work. These people came from many walks of life and unions. They had what I believe was the strongest voice for this rally today. Larry Cohen from the Communications Workers of America talked about the decline of the unions and the loss of wages and benefits over the last forty years. He said we used to have one in three in a union and now we have one in sixteen. I think he had a really strong voice for unions and the many people that followed him from a nurse to a teacher to a transportation worker all spoke very poignantly about the plight of workers today.
There were many well known people at this rally. I saw Jesse Jackson in the crowd and he also spoke. Charlie Rangel, Dick Gregory and many others were there as well. In my opinion the most elegant speaker was Harry Belafonte who talked about Dr. King speaking out about the Vietnam war. Then Harry spoke out about the two wars we are currently in. He had the raspy, aged voice of reason that I wish President Obama could hear! I have to thank the “right winger” that posted this so early on Youtube. This is not the complete speech as the part about Vietnam and our wars today wasn’t included.
This rally ended up being a real political rally. The Glenn Beck rally pales in comparison to what this rally was about. The Beck rally was much shorter and really was about giving out some awards to people that Beck admired for many different reasons. It really wasn’t a typical political rally as there weren’t speakers talking about fixing the nation or building up a party or even voting. This rally seems to have been organized to both respond to the Beck rally and the Tea Party people but also to try and rally the “troops” to vote. If people are listening and they’re Democrats, it could rally them. They didn’t talk much about President Obama. I’m sure that was by design. They talked about an agenda that included jobs, justice and peace.
Even college students spoke at this rally and talked about their student loans. One young man talked about an education and jobs being our “rights”. I have to say I agree with much of what he said. Randi Weingarten from the American Federation of Teachers was also at the rally and gave a rousing speech for education! She asked all to join in and be one nation together to make a difference in our children’s lives. Rev. Frederick Haynes talked about bringing our fingers together to make a fist to strike a blow for everything from education to justice. He repeated many things we need to bring our fingers together for. Basically, you don’t get much attention when you tap someone with your finger but if they see your fist, they’ll listen. I liked this guy. He had a simple way of bringing a big message! Beau Sia, a slam poet, spoke and it was a great poem about teaching. I didn’t get to see the whole rally as I have other things I have to do. I’m sure I saw the bulk of it. Much talk was given to everything from jobs, justice, education, the prison system, and health care. The end result is to vote and to vote for Democrats!
I admire the people that were able to go to the rally because they have chosen to try and do something, rather than sit and do nothing. One woman that is unemployed talked about “Working America” where she helps to organize other unemployed people to go out and volunteer. This rally was very inclusive with all colors and ages of people. Beck’s rally seemed very white and old. I have to give it up to Big Eddy. He did rally the troops. He talked about this rally so much that I really wondered if he and the unions could get the crowd he was expecting. They did. The crowd was impressive as were the many speakers.
I just wish the Democratic Party was half as good as the people they currently represent. These people deserve representation that isn’t corrupted by the deep pockets of corporations. They have gone out of their way to promote the Democratic Party and I believe the Democratic Party should go out of their way to hear these voices. This shouldn’t be just another rally where nothing ever comes from it but a vote. We’ve had enough of that. Everybody gets excited to vote. Then the politicians go back and we find out they had their fingers crossed behind their backs the whole time we were talking to them. Let’s all put our fingers together and make a fist. Maybe if they see our fist, we’ll get what we want!