Amanda Terkle reports for Huffington Post:
Tens Of Thousands Of Progressives Rally At The Lincoln Memorial For Jobs, Justice And Education
Tens of thousands of civil rights, labor, and other progressive activists gathered on the National Mall today for the One Nation Working Together rally, meant to bring attention to the fight for jobs, justice and education and energize the left one month before the midterm elections.
"October 2nd is about November 2nd," SEIU President Mary Kay Henry recently told MSNBC host Ed Schultz, who heavily promoted the event on his show and gave opening remarks today. "And it's about what we do after November 2nd to hold elected officials and corporate America accountable to getting us back to work."
More than 400 organizations representing tens of thousands of individuals sponsored the rally, bringing together groups like the Sierra Club, United Mine Workers of America, and the NAACP. Backers were touting it as the most diverse march in history.
Organizers insisted that One Nation was not a response to Fox News host Glenn Beck's Aug. 28 "Restoring Honor" rally, although some attendees held signs referencing the personality and his network, such as "I want my country back from Glenn Beck" and "Fox News: The more you watch, the less u know." "I didn't really appreciate that he took away from Martin Luther King," said Sheila Robinson, a member of AFSCME's District Council 37, noting that Beck's rally was on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of the civil rights icon's "I Have a Dream" speech.
"His [Beck's] rally was in response to what the civil rights movement has always been about, which is a multiethnic movement," National Urban League President Marc Morial, who spoke at the rally, told The Huffington Post in an interview on Friday. "But I do invite people to consider the contrast they'll see, in terms of the diversity. This is named One Nation because this rally will look like the way the nation looks. It's going to be yellow, it's going to be black, white, Hispanic and Asian. It's going to be men and women. It's going to be people from various walks, areas and religions. That's what it's about, and that's what the future of America is about. So this is really also a demonstration that that is a future that we should be proud of, and that's a future we should embrace as a nation."
Let no one be mistaken what this is about. Diversity and inclusion vs. homogeneity exclusion. But also the future, choice & self-determination vs. fatalism and the past. Because a straight white male, at least, is just as welcome either place. The future is a place we can all choose to share, or it is a place we can recoil from in horror. "
Restoring Honor" Beck said he was about, but to could offer no coherent explanaiton what he was talking about. It was simple, really: A black President and a female Speaker of the House, as a white male substance abuser, he was doubly dishonored by the fact that he could no longer assume everyone saw him as superior, just because of his race and gender.
Of course there are scores of other issues as well, and no one can pretend this is the clean decisive break with the past we desparately need. But the stark contrast in composition of the two rallies does serve to bring us down to earth a bit, back to first principles, such as who and what is getting taken care of and why.
And no, the "leadership" on our own side doesn't really seem to reliably get it yet. But there's an old saying to remember at times like these--a saying proved by every great struggle that's ever been won: When the people lead, the leaders will follow.
p.s. Crooks & Liars reports it was larger than Beck's Whitestock, even with far less promotional infrastructure.