One Nation Working Together Rally
I’M A FREELANCE PHOTOGRAPHER who is politically conservative. Until about a month ago, I’d only documented conservative political rallies, including Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” Rally held on August 28, 2010 at the Lincoln Memorial.
Having received press clearance for the liberal-progressive One Nation Working Together Rally, I drove to Washington, D.C. from North Carolina early on the morning of October 2, 2010.
Though a solid conservative, I was not going to the rally in order to produce a “hit piece” by focusing only on negative or out-of-context scenes that would give fodder to the rally’s critics. No, I absolutely despise dishonest journalism, and I was determined not to commit such a journalistic sin.
A Firsthand Look
I wanted to see with my own eyes the size of the crowd, the signs that would be carried, and the various groups that would be represented. I also wanted to get a sense of what the people attending the rally were like on a more personal level.
Exactly what would those “progressives” — as well as the communists and socialists — act like, I wondered, when they came together in the expected hundreds of thousands to celebrate their common causes? Would they be half out of their zealous minds? Would my life be in danger?!
Some of my conservative friends, family and Tweeps expressed concern and assured me of their prayers on my behalf. I have to admit that I had felt some apprehension, but thankfully it was overridden by my desire to experience the One Nation Working Together Rally firsthand.
The “One Nation Working Together Rally” Program
C-SPAN’s live coverage of the One Nation Working Together Rally that took place at the Lincoln Memorial on October 2, 2010 described the rally as being:
… organized by a coalition of local, state and national groups called ‘One Nation Working Together.’ Leaders in civil rights, labor, religion and the environment are calling for changes to national policies on jobs and public education. Other issues being addressed include immigration, civil and human rights protections, racial profiling and single-payer health care.
The C-SPAN website described the One Nation Working Together Rally as a “movement of people of diverse backgrounds, ethnicities and faiths demanding an American economy that works for all.”
The One Nation Working Together Rally was preceded by a Pre-Rally Interfaith Service that was not televised. The official rally opened with the Pledge of Allegiance led by young children, followed by the “Star Spangled Banner” sung by opera singer Angela Brown. The program was divided into three segments focusing on: jobs, education and justice.
Some of the more well-known speakers included: Ed Schultz (Talk Show Host for MSNBC’s “The Ed Show”), Jesse Jackson, Sr. (Founder and President, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition), actor Harry Belafonte, Van Jones (Former White House Special Adviser for Green Jobs), Al Sharpton (Founder and President, National Action Network), Richard L. Trumka (President, AFL-CIO), Marian Wright Edelmann (Founder and President, Children’s Defense Fund), Benjamin Todd Jealous (President and CEO, NAACP), Bob King (President, United Auto Workers), Mary Kay Henry (President, Service Employees International Union), Deepak Bhargava (Executive Director, Center for Community Change), Dennis Van Roekel (President, National Education Association), Randi Weingarten (President, American Federation of Teachers), Margaret Moran (President, League of United Latin American Citizens) and U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois).
Performers included entertainer Black Ice, comedian Charlie Hill, singer Frederic Yonnet, poet Beau Sia, and the George Clinton Band, which closed the rally program with “One Nation Under a Groove.”
If you’d like to view the C-SPAN rally coverage, please CLICK to watch C-SPAN’s “One Nation Rally” video.
Listen, Observe, Photograph
Throughout the day at the One Nation Working Together Rally — in conversations with both press colleagues and rally attendees — I engaged folks hailing from north, south, east and west. It was not the time or place for me to divulge my own dissimilar political persuasion — not so much out of fear or trepidation, but out of respect — for I could see genuine enthusiasm on the faces of the attendees. This was their day, their rally. The polite thing for me to do was to allow them to enjoy the rally without detracting from it. So I simply listened, observed and photographed.
I truly appreciate the opportunity to have attended the One Nation Working Together Rally. I count it a privilege to have spoken with a number of attendees and to have shared some press space with some very friendly and helpful colleagues.
NOTE: From this point forward, we move into my personal perspectives on and observations from the One Nation Working Together Rally.
We the Unions
The most conspicuous distinction of the One Nation Working Together Rally was the presence of union groups, including some of the more familiar groups such as: AFL-CIO, Communications Workers of America (CWA), Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the United Auto Workers (UAW).
Demonizing corporations was a favorite exercise at the rally. Labor leaders, in particular, repeatedly promoted the message that corporations are “greedy” and that they are the “enemy.”
Impassioned slogans aimed at vilifying corporations included:
- “Jobs Now! Jobs Now!”
- “People Before Profits!”
- “Communities Before Corporations!”
How hypocritical, I thought, for labor leaders to accuse corporations of greed and power-mongering, when they themselves, along with politicians and government officials, have their own share of culpability in the economic measures that have led to jobs going overseas.
For instance, the tax rate for U.S. corporations is nearly the highest of all developed countries. Exorbitant labor costs and labor benefits, high corporate taxation and increasing federal regulations are forcing companies to send jobs overseas, in order to remain profitable.
Moreover, the misnamed “Employee Free Choice Act” (aka “card check”) that labor unions want passed into law represents anything but free choice. It gives unfair advantages to labor unions, while denying employees the right to a secret ballot. This law is unjust and must NOT be passed.
Reiterating the evil-corporation theme during the education segment of the program, Marian Wright Edelman (President of the Children’s Defense Fund) said:
Use your citizen power, your vote, to wrest our ship of state from that small group of “experts” and powerful and greedy corporate pirates who recklessly jeopardized all of our lives for personal gain. Feel your own power. Use your own power. Don’t rely on “experts.”
“Corporate pirates” are not the only ones jeopardizing our lives for personal gain. Labor unions, including the teachers’ unions, are grasping for more and more power and wealth at the expense of the non-union middle class.
The Crowd: The Signage and the Size
Two things became apparent to me while photographing the One Nation Working Together Rally. One is that the Left — who regularly accuses the Tea Party of displaying signs that are radical, inflammatory or uncivil — have their own sign issues. Though problem signage was not widespread — as is also true of the Tea Party — it’s only fair that I depict the Left’s signs. (More signs are shown in the photo gallery — see the link at the END of this article.)
At about 2:15 p.m., as I was making my way from the Lincoln Memorial to the open field next to the Korean War Veterans Memorial — specifically in order to photograph how sparse the crowd was in that area — talk show host Joe Madison proclaimed to the crowd that a satellite image had confirmed that the rally crowd at that very moment was larger than the crowd at Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” Rally.
I was stunned to hear such an outright falsehood. Not only was I an eyewitness to both rallies, but any honest person comparing the density and the expansion of the two crowds in aerial photos would readily see that the size of the One Nation Rally crowd was not even close to the size of the “Restoring Honor” crowd. However, making such a false claim did help to gin up the crowd momentarily. (Near the end of the photo gallery, you can see a few shots of the field with a very sparse crowd — see the photo gallery link at the END of this article.)
Besides the various labor unions that appeared to have represented the largest contingent at the One Nation Working Together Rally, quite a number of radical groups promoting communism, socialism, anti-Americanism and globalism endorsed the rally.
Specifically, among the 400+ endorsers were groups such as the Communist Party USA, Democratic Socialists of America and the International Socialist Organization — plus dozens more similarly radical groups.
Dare we take lightly that some of these groups call for the violent overthrow of the U.S. government?
I have a hard time imagining George Washington or any of our other Founding Fathers aligning with these radical groups. Why would any moderate Democrat want to be aligned with such radicals?
The Real America?
Speakers at the One Nation Working Together Rally claimed that the crowd that was gathered that day at the Lincoln Memorial represented the “Real America.” Yet Americans with other perspectives have stood on the same hallowed ground — in recent weeks, even — and their hearts beat for America, too.
Maybe the real question is not, “Who is the Real America?” — but “What is America?” That is, are we not still a constitutional republic? Or are we becoming a mobocracy?
According to Ed Schultz and other rally speakers, conservatives are evil, selfish, discriminating and unwilling to stand by the values of our Forefathers and the principles of the Constitution.
I find it ironic and no less evil, selfish and discriminating that Mr. Schultz and so many Leftists would, if they could, deny the constitutional right of free speech to conservative voices. Many such as Mr. Schultz frequently and publicly bemoan conservative speech. They likewise have no problem with stealing other people’s hard-earned money and redistributing it as they see fit. Our Forefathers would not — and our Constitution does not — condone such actions.
Today, class warfare is being stoked between the “rich” and the “poor.” Between “whites” and those of “color.” Between “workers” and “corporations.” Between “law-abiding citizens” and “illegal immigrants.” Those who are stoking class warfare — labor union leaders, politicians, government officials and radicals — appear to love their own personal or ideological agendas more than they love the country.
Voting on November 2, 2010
A frequently emphasized point raised throughout the One Nation Working Together Rally was the importance of voting on November 2. As was often the case, references to the Tea Party were included. Here’s what Harry Belafonte said:
Perhaps the greatest threat of all is the undermining of our Constitution and the systematic attack against the inalienable rights of the citizens of this nation, rights that were guaranteed by our Constitution. At the vanguard of this insidious attack is the Tea Party. This band of misguided citizens is moving perilously close to achieving villainous ends. This gathering here today is America’s wake-up call. The giant called “Democracy” is at last stirring again. Citizens are coming together to say that freedom does not sleep. It may have been fueled and lulled for the moment into lethargy, but it’s fully awakened now and “We the People” are its engine. On November 2, in the millions, we must overburden our voting booths by voting against those who would see the nation become a totalitarian state.
WELL, HARRY — the only thing we seem to agree on is the importance of voting on November 2! I encourage all “misguided” Tea Party and conservative Americans to vote for candidates with integrity, who value life, and who are dedicated to upholding the Constitution.
Visit the Photo Gallery
To see the gallery of 200+ photos, please visit the One Nation Working Together Rally photo gallery. Hope you enjoy the photos!