Anyone Know How To Get A Rally Started?

“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?

Comments (5)

  1. nsodano

    the strong desire of 2007 dems to shake off the heavy hand of the Bush/McCain era led us to idealize Obama.  But if you were listening, Obama’s sweet nothings were rolled out along side a second narrative.  A narrative that shows him to be a liar.  Do you remember the “memo” of one Austan Goolsbee?  The same man who is became the President’s chief Economic Adviser?  Well, during March 2008, while the campaigning Obama was promising Labor that he intended to renegotiate NAFTA, Professor Goolsbee assured the Canadians that Mr. Obama’s protectionist stand on the trail was “more reflective of political maneuvering than policy.”   Indeed.  Why would you think his promise to walk beside us is somehow different?  Or even if he makes a show of appearing somewhere, that his POLICIES will change? This is the same guy who proposed freezes for federal workers, the same guy who let Card Check die without a fight.  

  2. Dave Schraeger

    The rally is a good idea, but we need more than one rally.  We need lots of them over and over again.  This is going to be hard work over a long time.  And, by the way, Obama doesn’t need another pair of shoes.  He needs a pair of balls!  He needs to stop surrounding himself with Wall Street types and start standing up for workers instead of just offering up empty rhetoric when he’s campaigning.

  3. Bill Orr

    National rallies upon a big stage like DC require a national organization with national connections to be effective. Setting up an umbrella group to coordinate with state-wide groups for an event in Trenton (or individual events in different counties) would be more doable. Having a great TV visual like boots on the steps of the State House or a county building is an excellent idea.

    You get support when you have a goal broad enough to attract lots of participants, but specific enough so that it is clear what the expected outcome must be. For example, marriage equality is a goal broad enough to attract a diverse group of supporters, but it also has a specific expected outcome – for ME to be legal in NJ.

    Ideally a protest should achieve its desired goal, which often means working with the powers that be, such as legislators, needed to bring about the specific results.

    Act Up was a great example in that protesters had visuals, a cause and they did not just hit the street and shout. Each demonstration, in the case of NJ Act Up, had a goal: to get UMDNJ to conduct more HIV research, for one town to end HIV discrimination among its ambulance crew, for a city to offer more HIV services, etc.

    A big demo requires a lawyer, publicist/press spokesperson, monitors, police relations coordinator, advertising team, phone bank, EMT, website, Facebook, Twitter, transportation coordinator, and a lot of sweat labor. And a great slogan always helps. But its all worth it when you raise the consciousness of the public, empower supporters, and bring about a tangible result.        



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