What about restoring honor in our workplaces?

A whole host of level-headed folks, including AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker and New York Times columnist Bob Herbert, have dealt thoughtfully and compellingly with the implications of Glenn Beck choosing to hold his rally on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. And they’re right to be leery of anyone grandstanding in the name of civil rights.

There’s yet another side to last weekend’s rally that’s worth taking a look at. While Beck, Palin, and the rally’s funders may have achieved financial wealth unimaginable to the majority of Americans, many if not most of the attendees were ordinary working people — and they’re facing the same hurdles as working families of all ideological persuasions: sky-high unemployment, stagnant wages, meager benefits, and a lack of respect on the job.

The problem of course is that Beck’s brand of politics, though it may give his followers a fleeting sense of purpose in a time of rampant economic uncertainty, doesn’t actually do a thing to address those challenges — as Bush’s failed presidency made abundantly clear. It’s infuriating, and tragic, that Beck is able to con working Americans into believing that his favored policies will make their lives better.

Just look at Nancy and Tom Mistele. According to ABC News,

Nancy and Tom Mistele came from Wisconsin to attend Beck’s rally and events surrounding it. The two say they came because they haven’t earned a paycheck since 2006 and are afraid that Americans are losing their freedom and their country.

Here’s the thing: No number of vaguely-patriotic platitudes will put unemployed Americans back to work. And misplaced anger isn’t going turn a McJob into a good job, or give returning veterans a fair chance at the American Dream. For that, we need strong advocates for working families in government and unions in our workplaces.

Fortunately, working people will soon have a chance to come together for Dr. King’s vision of an America free from injustice in all its forms—including economic injustice. On October 2, 2010, a broad coalition of progressive organizations will be taking to the National Mall for the One Nation Working Together rally.

Who knows, maybe some rank-and-file Tea Partiers will show up. After all, as anyone fortunate enough to be in DC last Saturday can attest, stranger things have happened.


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This entry was posted on Monday, August 30th, 2010 at 5:37 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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