Making noise on K Street

My shirt is still drying and my hair might need a towel, but I didn’t want to waste any time: I just got back from representing American Rights at Work at the K Street Showdown protest in DC.

The rally was organized by the AFL-CIO, SEIU, Jobs with Justice, National People’s Action (NPA), MoveOn.org, and others – and the cold rain didn’t hamper attendance one bit. People of all ages, races, and affiliations assembled at McPherson Square, wielding signs and umbrellas, eager to take on Wall Street’s lobbyist allies. Chants ranged from “Bank of America, bad for America!” to “Move banks, get out the way!” with smatterings of “Si se puede!” and accompanied by a wide variety of percussion instruments.

Reverend Barnes of NPA addressed the wet but enthusiastic crowd. “President Bush went to Iraq looking for weapons of mass destruction,” he said, “but the real weapons of mass destruction, the toxic assets, were right in his back yard!” AFT member Josh Hirschey, a recently laid-off science teacher from Upstate New York, reminded the crowd who they were fighting for. Since his firing, Hershey said, the school had to “double the number of kids in my classroom…ultimately, it’s the kids who lose out.”

The gathering of thousands then took to the streets, blocking off thoroughfares on K Street and Vermont Avenue and eventually arriving at the Bank of America building on 15th Street. Flanked by news vans, we chanted and cheered and shared umbrellas.

Even though the big bank executives didn’t come out to greet us, we know they heard us. They know now that when they accept millions in taxpayer bailouts - then turn around and spend those millions on lobbyists to fight financial reform – we notice, and we make noise.

Several blocks away, Congress hears us too. They know now that when they vote according to the whims of Wall Street donors and high-paid lobbyists – instead of their hardworking constituents who sent them – we notice, and we make noise.

On K Street, the lobbyists can chuckle and go back to working on behalf of their corporate clients. But as much as they try to hide it, they are shivering in their expensive shoes. They know that we know that they treat Congress and Wall Street like a revolving door – and we’ll be making some noise about it, too.

Next time, though, I’ll need to bring a bigger umbrella. And maybe some drums.

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This entry was posted on Monday, May 17th, 2010 at 5:12 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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