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One Nation Working Together March October 2, 2010

October 6, 2010

My Stream of Consciousness

Click here see the Ekos2 slide show of the March

Saturday morning: I started my day in high spirits, taking the Metro into Washington from New Carrollton. Getting on the train I met a foursome, two couples heading to the march. One of the men had his elect Barack Obama tee shirt. We traded stories and chuckles until the train pulled into the old RFK Stadium where a big, boisterous crowd squeezed on board. Hundreds of buses were parked at the stadium lot. Marchers jammed into the subway cars – members of unions, members of the NAACP, many from New York, New Jersey, Phily, Pittsburg and Boston.

 

Jammed on the Metro: Ekos-Squared

 

There were Teamsters carrying Teamster balloons, UAW members, Transit Workers, all with brightly colored T-shirts and signs proudly identifying their affiliations. The cars were packed wall to wall but people were good natured, seeing the crush as the sign of a good crowd. There were people of all races and ages. Little kids giggled and wiggled through the hubbub.
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We all got off at the Smithsonian Station, put our tickets through the styles and took the escalator up to daylight. There we were in bright sunshine on a perfect fall day – the Nation’s Mall. A young event staffer directed us westward toward the Washington Monument, Reflecting Pool and Lincoln Memorial where the crowd was assembling.

 

 

The crowd marching to the Lincoln memorial: Photo: Ekos-Squared

 

 

Hundreds walked together – a sea of signs – Jobs, Education, Communication Workers of America, Don’t Rob My Social Security; Hope Not Hate; Don’t Outsource my Job. There were drummers and a real live bag-piper.

The crowd was extremely good natured; it was easy to make friends, to exchange backgrounds; we were all here for the same reason. Many I talked to wanted to be counted – to show the nation that America has far more to offer than the Tea Party/GOP negative agenda, an agenda masquerading as populist but designed to benefit the wealthy elite and to dismantle government’s ability to govern on behalf of the public well being.  One gent from Wisconsin told me, “Thank, God, Thank God, we’re here at last.”

Yet the mood was far from angry. What I saw was a lot of dedication and concern, but also a lot of smiles — people wanted to share.  I spoke to Stella Adams from Durham, NC, who gave me a quick education on the Community Reinvestment Act a bill in Congress that would provide jobs and strengthen communities by spurring banks to invest in communities and small businesses. I spoke to a couple that were advocates for the children of undocumented workers born in this country.

Many of the speakers have been fighting for many decades. There was the now-gravelly voiced, Harry Belafonte, whom I met as a high school journalist in 1960 and Julian Bond, Marian Wright Edelman, Jesse Jackson, Richard Trumka and many others all still marching for the same things.

 

Now: Harry Belafonte addresses the "One Nation Working Together" rally at the Lincoln Memorial. AP Photo

 

 

Then: Harry Belafonte with Martin Luther King; Source: Les Payne; http://bit.ly/bMuwIe

 

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The march brought back memories of other marches, including the March for Jobs and Freedom of August 1963 led by Rev. Martin Luther King. I went there with my brothers Fred and Steve and with my father, Archie Cole, a leader with the IUE-AFL-CIO. I’m sure he was there in spirit, but I missed him badly – his unflagging determination and his ability to find humor and chutzpah in any situation.

 

Less than two years ago we were celebrating –right here on the Mall – the election and inauguration of Barack Obama as President, a man who promised change and hope. We threw our hearts into it, going door-to-door, working the phones, holding fund raisers, voting in mass. The Democrats swept to power in both houses of Congress – we sensed an enormous opportunity to renew our nation’s commitment to economic, social and environmental justice after 8 long years of the Bush and Cheney. Yes, Mr. Obama missed opportunities, but I remind myself that he inherited monumental crises and no shortage of potent detractors.

 

How quickly the tide has changed. We now face a strong current from the right – one that smacks of an angry intolerance that not only undermines our tradition of decency but of our democracy. Prime-time TV, radio talk, blogs comments –big lies, name calling, scape-goating. Google it – Glenn Beck with his blackboard: Nazis = Communists = Progressives. You can see Mr. O’Reilly taking not so subtle shots at Blacks – things these guys wouldn’t have dared to utter publicly a few years ago.

Marching together: It’s good to know what we’re up against. But it’s also good to know that we’re marching together and speaking out for the justice, equality, freedom, and common good — the foundations of our nation. And it’s also heartening to know that though we march for a variety of causes, we do march together.

 

 

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Henry S. Cole, Ph.D. permalink*
    October 7, 2010 11:28 am

    Stella Adams originally posted this in the slide show post. We are reposting it here so that more readers will review it.

    The One Nation Working Together March was a wonderful experience and showed how all Americans are united in our hopes and dreams for Jobs! Justice and Education. I am an advocate for the use of private capital to spur economic recovery in our neighborhoods and communities. We as taxpayers provided support to financial institutions to help them survive and it is only appropriate for them to invest in U.S.

    The Community Reinvestment Act has leveraged trillions of dollars for low- and moderate-income communities since its enactment in 1977, and has had a broader impact on the
    overall economy by creating jobs, expanding affordable housing opportunities, and promoting small business development.

    Just this week the OCC and other federal regulators announced that the Community Reinvestment Act will now be used to ensure access to affordable low-cost private student loans for low-income students.

    A bill was recently introduced into Congress to expand CRA. to find out more go to http://www.expandcra.org

    One Nation Working Together is a movement not a moment. It is important that we continue to WORK TOGETHER to secure a positive future for all Americans. VOTE NOV 2 to secure the change we are fighting for.s Note: The following comment was originally posted in the slide show

  2. October 6, 2010 8:37 pm

    Hank,

    Thanks for your lively description of the march. More so, thanks for representing those of us who could not make it.

    As they say, this election ain’t over till the fat lady sings. And with the polls narrowing, she might just be singing our song. President Obama said it, we have to be in it for the long haul, change doesn’t happen in just two years. Yet we have accomplished alot in the last two years, not everything we wanted or needed. But imagine where we would be under a President McCain and Vice-President Palin.

    As usual the forces of reaction have more money, but as always there are more every-day people. We just need to get to the polls on November 2. That’s the 50 million people march I will join.

  3. Richard White permalink
    October 6, 2010 6:07 pm

    Thanks for the report!

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