Me and about 500 of my closest friends (though one report said over 1000 participants, I didn’t seem like THAT many) showed up at Dupont Circle on Saturday at noon to demonstrate our solidarity for Wisconsin workers and labor everywhere. The rally was just one of over 50 actions around the country coordinated by moveon.org, Jobs With Justice, and other groups under the name “Rally to Save the American Dream.”(There was at least one rally in every state.)
There were teachers (lots of teachers), police officers, fire fighters, veterans, flight attendants, and union electricians. Some people were Wisconsin transplants, other just showed up in solidarity.
Everyone got really excited when Van Jones, author of The Green-Collar Economy, took the stage. He said that today was the beginning of a new movement to take back the American Dream and when the crowd booed at the mention of the Tea Party, he stopped them and said, “They are a part of the movement, too, they just don’t know it yet.” I, tweeting the event like a mad woman, of course tweeted that sentence into the universe. Little did I know I would get some serious backlash from it!
Here is what I said: The tea party movement are out sisters and brothers too they just don’t know it yet #wearewi#dc
Here is the response I got from some lady who describes herself as SW Regional Director on ResistNet. Dedicated to the preservation of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Rule of Law.
Ok, now I know one should not engage which such people but I was actually really surprised that some person I don’t know would attack me and my beliefs personally via twitter! So let’s focus on some more positive stuff. Like Van Jones who continued talking about our tea party brothers and sisters, saying about them that “We have a movement in America that hates the government, but loves and needs government services, just like our folks do,” he continued, “They don’t want to live in neighborhoods where there are no fire stations and no police and children are going to schools with 40 kids in the classrooms, six books and no chalk. We’re fighting for them, too.”
Jones also said that “today the dream will be reborn in America…The dream that we can work in this country and get somewhere, that we can stand up for each other, be one country…We don’t have to be rolled over and pushed around, disappointed and spat on, anymore.” After about an hour of speeches half of us made our way to the white house, chanting a long the way.
Our day of protest is over but hundreds of Wisconsin union members and supporters are still fighting. The 15 democratic senators are still in out of the state, denying the body quorum needed for Governor Walker. Similar proposals are popping up in Arizona, Ohio, and other states. This is too important to ignore.