Saturday, March 17th, 2018

One Nation Working Together Rally


Posted on Thursday, October 7, 2010 by Deb Phillips | 15 Comments 

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.

Attendees at the One Nation Working Together Rally on 10-2-2010

This couple lined up early at the Lincoln Memorial on the morning of the One Nation Working Together Rally.

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.

Crowd at the One Nation Working Together Rally at the Lincoln Memorial on 10-02-2010

With the One Nation Working Together Rally underway, the crowd extended around the Reflecting Pool

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.

Ed Schultz speaking at the One Nation Working Together Rally at the Lincoln Memorial

Ed Schultz, MSNBC talk show host of "The Ed Show," reminds the rally crowd of the progress made by President Obama and the Democrats over the last two years; and he encourages them to vote on November 2, 2010, in order to continue the progress.

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.

Van Jones, Former White House Adviser for Green Jobs

Former White House Special Adviser for Green Jobs, Van Jones, promoted wind and solar power as a means to care for the environment and to create jobs.

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.”

C-Span Video

If you’d like to view the C-SPAN rally coverage, please CLICK to watch C-SPAN’s “One Nation Rally” video.

One Nation Working Together Rally at the Lincoln Memorial on 10-02-2010.

A long view from the Lincoln Memorial toward the Washington Monument.

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).

AFL-CIO labor union members walk up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial

A group of AFL-CIO union members climbs the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

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.

US flag with corporate logos in place of the stars

"Corporate greed" was a common theme at the One Nation Working Together Rally. Major U.S. corporation logos are shown here on a modified U.S. flag, representing the view of some that the nation's largest and wealthiest corporations hold inordinate political power.

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.

UAW flag held at the Lincoln Memorial at the One Nation Working Together Rally

Members of the UAW Local 677 lifted up their union banner. The tip of the Washington Monument is seen in the background.

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.)

Protest sign at the One Nation Working Together Rally

Most of the protest signs at the One Nation Working Together Rally dealt with political issues. This sign, critical of Christianity, was an exception.

Crowd Size
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.)

Radical Associations

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.

Social organizer hawking books at One Nation Working Together Rally

Proponents of socialism were among a multitude of radical groups — including communists and other anti-American groups — that endorsed and attended the One Nation Working Together 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?

Woman waving flags at the One Nation Working Together Rally

A camera magnet! This lady was one of the most enthusiastic attendees at the rally.

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.

Man holding up flag at the One Nation Working Together Rally

This gentlemen stood above the crowd, proudly lifting high the U.S. flag.

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.

Back of T-shirt at the One Nation Working Together Rally

Voting on November 2 was a key directive throughout the One Nation Working Together Rally.

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!

About Deb Phillips
Deb Phillips is a freelance photographer and writer based in Lewisville, NC (USA). In addition to reviewing Deb's documentary coverage here at, check out her inspirational photo blog at and her personal photo portfolio at Deb Phillips Photography, where Art & Life Converge.


15 Responses to “One Nation Working Together Rally”
  1. Jeannie says:


    You did a fine job here! You should be commended for showing One Nation as a rally of real people with real problems. We are more alike, Teaparty and OneNation, than different! We have to find common solutions to the problems in this country, and may your work help us to find them!

    P.S. Except for your union stance, I loved this article and photographs. Bravo!

    • Deb Phillips says:

      Well, Jeannie — I had you in mind as I shaped the article! I didn’t expect you’d agree with all of my viewpoints, but I did hope you’d think the presentation was fair. I feel affirmed! Thanks for your gracious feedback.

      You know, assuming the Tea Party movement is still in existence after Nov. 2, I encourage you to attend one sometime. If you’re open-minded, I believe you’d have an overall positive experience, as I did at the One Nation Rally. My eyes were really opened in a way that I could not have conjured up of my own will or imagination.

      Twitter has its purposes, but it’s not the best place for moderation and discourse!

      Thanks again!

      • Dolores says:

        Miss Deb,
        You did not show the garbage left behind.
        Photos of some aspects and not all is not completely forthcoming.
        Great picture, though.

        • Deb Phillips says:

          Greetings, Dolores —

          There are several reasons why I intentionally did not include a photo of the trash within this article. I did take a few shots while the rally was in progress that show trash around the World War II Memorial, and I included one of those shots near the end of my 200+-image photo gallery:

          Trash at the World War II Memorial – One Nation Rally

          I had arranged for a ride back to the Arlington Metro Station immediately after the rally, so I was not able to roam the grounds afterward in order to document the trash left behind.

          Other photographers documented the trash, and their photos can easily be found on the Internet. Unfortunately, there are websites on which the trash and/or objectionable signs are the sole focus — and that’s certainly not “fair and balanced.”

          I thought about mentioning the trash, but I opted instead to focus on the nature of many of the endorsing groups and the issues promoted at the rally.

          This is as forthcoming as I know to be, Dolores.

          I appreciate your visiting the site, and I thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Jone Reid says:


    You did a great job capturing the enthusiasm of folks in the crowd. I hope many people go to this website and buy lots of pictures. I enjoyed seeing so many American flags and signs for jobs.

    In this rally, the labor unions were out in full color—even matching t-shirts provided by the unions. I do wonder how people think we’ll ever get jobs back in the USA with labor unions demanding big salaries and ridiculous benefits? Why hasn’t anyone said let’s fleece the labor unions and give to the poor? They seem to be protected groups in our country.

    I commend you on going to the One Nation rally. I tried to watch a little on C-span, but it was spewing so much hate I had to turn it off. I hope all Americans watched it on C-span and took notice of the causes and issues One Nation represented. There were many signs about the progressive agenda and socialism. If voters want to give away what they have worked hard to earn, fund the unions and move to socialism then I say vote for the party that will give you that America. I prefer to cast my vote for candidates who are conservative, hard working, demonstrate Christian values and vote policies to help people get out of poverty, not keep them there. I’ll trust God to work out the rotten parts of the party.

    The crowds were not close to the numbers or people at the Restoring Honor Rally. I was at the Restoring Honor rally and there wasn’t a green space that didn’t have mobs of people on it. The tone of the Restoring Honor rally was so uplifting and non-judgmental. I and many people chose the better rally to attend.

    • Deb Phillips says:

      Thanks so much for sharing, Jone, especially as someone who attended the Restoring Honor Rally. I agree that the programs for the One Nation Rally and the Restoring Honor Rally were starkly different from each other. The latter truly focused on faith, hope and charity, while the former was largely political.

      I learned a lot on this trip, though, and was so glad I went. It helped me better understand those on the opposite end of the political spectrum, and I believe that will aid me as I continue to share and dialogue online.

      Thanks for visiting the website and for sharing your perspectives.

    • Jeannie says:


      If Glenn Beck hadn’t made it absolutely clear to all of you Tea Party activists that signs were not allowed, you too would be seen as a hodgepodge group of people with very different agendas within your own ranks.

      The hate I see spewing on Twitter is primarily coming from the hard-core racism that is prevalent in the Tea and threatens to not only take over but destroy the whole idea. Which brings me to my questions for you: “What is the real purpose of this movement? “Why is it funded by off-shore money from undisclosed locations?” And “Why aren’t you all yelling for the dismantlement of the industrial military complex?” That’s where the money is…

      We are not less than each other. We are all good in God’s eyes, right?

      😀 Peace

      • Deb Phillips says:

        Jeannie, you need to get out more! You cannot judge the Tea Party movement by Tweets or signs, anymore than the Left should be judged merely by Tweets or signs. The Left’s Twitter streams, and many of the rabid Leftist websites/forums, accounted, in part, for why I felt some apprehension in attending the One Nation Rally — and yet I found in actuality that the One Nation Rally was not a “Danger Zone” for me!

        Everything within you might be repulsed at the thought of attending a Tea Party event sometime, but I’m challenging you to do so — and to try to be open-minded. You and I have been able to talk, and we have respect for each other.

        The picture of the Tea Party that’s largely presented in the media — of bigots and racists — is *not* accurate. The Tea Party is represented more by people like me — decent people who respect others, even those with whom we disagree. The Tea Party is *not* made up of people filled with “hate.” However, you believe that; and your online experiences feed that belief; and leaders on the Left feed that belief — but it’s *not* true.

        If you also obtain your view of or “facts” on the Tea Party from broadcast news, or especially from MSNBC, I can understand why we seem like vile people who have lost touch with reality.

        There is no central Tea Party group. The movement is comprised of hundreds, if not thousands, of local organizations across the country. Yet even though there are many independent groups, there are common threads running through most of the groups. A few of those common threads are echoed at the following Tea Party Patriots page:

        Tea Party Patriots – Vision Statement and Core Principles

        Even the stated goals of Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government and Free Markets described on the Tea Party Patriots’ missions page are misrepresented and distorted by some on the Left. Don’t take those statements and transform them into something extreme. They should be taken on face value.

        I started this website exactly because the Tea Party movement was being misrepresented and bludgeoned in the press. I wanted to give a true glimpse of the people and of some of the issues. The informative power of this website is not just in the “positive” photos you’ll find throughout it. Important information can be found in my comments and observations, beginning with my first Tea Party experience at the U.S. Capitol on 9/12/09 — The 9/12 Tea Party event:

        America Goes to Washington (9/12/09)

        Likewise, more recently, I wanted to present a picture of the One Nation Rally and to give a glimpse of the *people* on the Left. I also wanted to address the important issues involved.

        Though I don’t expect you’ll agree with my positions on many of the issues as you’ll see expressed in the various articles on this website, they represent, I believe, where I and other conservatives are coming from.

        I expect the Tea Party will continue going strong over the next two years, leading up to the 2012 elections. I don’t know how far you live from North Carolina (where I am), but I’d be willing to attend a Tea Party event sometime with you and dialogue with you about it — that is, if distance and expense aren’t serious obstacles.

        One other thought: I don’t know if you get many of the cable channels, but I see Mike Huckabee as someone on the Right who respectfully engages on the issues with Liberals and others on the Left. Now, I imagine that you might cringe at my suggestion to switch your channel to the Fox News cable channel at 8:00 pm on Saturdays to watch the Mike Huckabee Show, but I think you might be surprised, even if you disagree with him. (The same Mike Huckabee Show repeats at 8:00 pm on Sundays, too.)

        Thanks, Jeannie. This got a bit longer than I anticipated! I’m sure we’ll be in touch! 🙂

        • Jeannie says:

          I left out an “R” in my reply to Jone, It should have read, “If Glenn Beck hadn’t made it absolutely clear to all of your Tea Party activists that signs were not allowed, you too would have been seen as a hodgepodge group of people with very different agendas within your own ranks.”

          This was not meant to insult, and I do have satellite. I particularly like Bill Moyers’ “Journal” on PBS on Sundays. Do you watch him? Good middle.

          I can’t watch Fox. I always end up yelling at the TV set or Twitter!

          Mick Huckabee would have a flat 23% tax on all goods and services, right? Fine if your rich or comfortable, disastrous if you spend all of your income on food and shelter as it is.

          😀 Get Bill on PBS! But, I am going to watch him this Sunday for you. What time is he on? I’ll record it and watch with my husband.

          • Deb Phillips says:

            Yeah, leaving out the “R” in the word “your” would come across stronger than you apparently intended! Thanks for the correction. (It will probably make Jone feel a little better about you, too!) 🙂

            I know you have a revulsion for Fox News, and that’s why I suggested Huckabee. I think you could watch him without experiencing a severe effect on your blood pressure! Huckabee’s on FNC on Saturday and Sunday at 8:00 pm (the same show repeats).

            I “stray” over to MSNBC quite frequently to learn what’s being said about the Right. Frankly, most of what’s said on MSNBC’s evening primetime programs is so far removed from fact that it’s ridiculous.

            But I don’t just rely on FNC for my news, I also regularly watch ABC’s evening news during the week. Of the Sunday political commentary shows, I also watch “Meet the Press” (NBC) and sometimes “This Week” (ABC), but I’m finding the new anchor there, Christiane Amanpour, is *far* from objective.

            Bill Moyers — He’s never really struck me as going as deep as I’d like on the issues. But I admit I’ve not made a habit of watching his program. I’ll check him out — for you! 🙂


  3. Jeannie says:


    I hope that you don’t mind my bursting in with a book I’d like to point out. It relates to Jone’s reference to the religious theme of the Restoring Honor Rally. I also have a link, if you would like to read it:

    C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy

    The most dangerous thing we can do to the secular country of the United States is to conflate religion with government to a point where a theocracy is created. America stands for religious freedoms that include the freedom not to follow. Our fierce individuality as a people (we loud brass Americans) comes from the very fact that we are secular politically, and it must remain so.

    • Deb Phillips says:

      Jeannie, I don’t mind your sharing the link for the book. I think your concern about a “theocracy” represents one held by others, as well; and it warrants a thoughtful response. I need a few days, though, to catch up and recover from my One Nation trip. I’ll be back with some thoughts, hopefully within a few days. Thanks for the info.

    • Deb Phillips says:

      I’ve finally had time to respond to your concerns about a theocracy, Jeannie.

      No one at the Restoring Honor Rally was pushing for a theocracy. The faiths represented by the clergy in the rally program and the crowd included Christians, Muslims and Jews. Christians, in general, respect the rights of others to worship as they please, or not to worship at all.

      Regarding the allegations made by the author of the C Street book to which you referred, hypocrisy and corruption have existed for thousands of years, no doubt in every faith, in every walk of life, in every movement, and to varying degrees in every human being who’s ever lived.

      Whatever the real story is with the C Street “Family” — and it should be noted that all of the author’s allegations do not line up with the facts — it’s both unfair and unrealistic to construe from that scenario that Christianity is therefore a threat to the nation. Most Christians in the U.S. and around the world are not crazies or radicals, but rather are peaceable, upstanding individuals who make positive and significant contributions to society.

      The author of the C Street book supposedly went “deep within fundamentalism” and reveals the “new front lines of fundamentalism” of the “Christian mafia.” He would be more credible, however, if he examined with similar fervor and depth the irrefutable danger our nation faces in Islamic fundamentalism.

      It is Muslim extremists who are out to destroy America and every vestige of civilization that does not submit to Islam. Yet many in the media and many on the Left routinely bend over backwards to gloss over violent, radical Muslim extremism — while taking every opportunity to vindictively target Christians with distorted charges and outright fabrications.

      This response may not relieve your concerns, Jeannie, but I assure you that “fundamentalist Christianity” is the least of the threats facing our country. In fact, the tenets of Christianity actually offer great hope.

  4. noodles8 says:


    Thanks so much for your documentary on both rallies. I’m a Black American from SC, and I attended the Restoring Honor Rally…beautiful experience. You have done a wonderful job at capturing the essence of each rally. I can truly say that I felt no hatred or resentment at the 8/28 Rally…only love, inclusiveness, and respect…a oneness! God bless you, and keep up the good work.

    • Deb Phillips says:

      I really appreciate you sharing your experience as a Black American at the Restoring Honor Rally, which has been unfairly criticized by some as White-centric and divisive. I’m so glad you had the opportunity to attend and to experience for yourself the unity, the shared values and the gracious spirit that marked the Restoring Honor Rally. Thanks so much for visiting and for taking the time to leave a comment. All the best to you, my friend.

Speak Your Mind