“If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.” Sen. Barack Obama – Presidential Campaign Speech in 2007
Those words still resonate in the ears of many American working class families who gave their dollars and their votes to elevate Barack Obama into the office of President of the United States and now many of those same American working class families are asking whatever happened to those comfortable shoes or the candidate who promised to wear them and stand with working class American union members in defense of their rights.
The last two years have seen some of the most egregious and draconian attacks on public unions and middle class families in the last 30 years and President Obama has remained mostly silent and conspicuously detached from all of it.
As Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker, used a republican majority to usurp 40+ years of collective bargaining and workers’ rights in the name of a budget deficit HE manufactured in order to give tax breaks to companies that didn’t need them or as Ohio Governor John Kasich directly attacked unions, or as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took state senate president Stephen Sweeney and state assembly leader Sheila Oliver to his bosom and offered them his protection from what would be an enraged democratic body. The tapes were just released to prove it. Christie agreed to help Oliver remain in power for her help passing public employee benefits overhaul.
Maybe, in all the hubbub that is involved in “Being President”, Mr. Obama misplaced those shoes and has just had a hard time finding a pair. It could be that it is our responsibility to lend him a pair of ours. A pair of nurses shoes from the nurse that spends 12 hour shifts caring for the sick and dying, or the boots of a machinist who spends 6 days a week hunched over a lathe or grind stone to make the products we rely on, or maybe the beaten up fireboots of a fireman who risks life and limb to save someone else’s, or how about the worn down flats of a social worker who spends her last dollars to buy a gallon of milk for a single mom who’s run out of food stamps to provide for her children.
Wouldn’t it be a great idea if we organized a rally to help out our president and loan him some shoes so he can get out there and walk the line or tread a few steps in the shoes of one of these struggling American laborers?
How hard would it be to organize a rally for working class America in which we let our president know how much we need him back on our side because the guys on the other side are tearing us apart one right at a time and a thousand jobs at a time?
I propose a rally in which we all bring a pair of our work shoes down to DC and drop them in front of the gates of the White House. A simple message from poor and middle class Americans. Imagine thousands of pairs of shoes lined up in front of the White House gates, like a memorial to the dying of the middle class. A clear and poignant sign that we are done waiting and we need change NOW.
What say you? Anyone know how to get a rally started?