Liberals Rally In D.C. To Light Fire Under Democratic Base

"One Nation Working Together Rally"

hide captionLiberals gathered at the Lincoln Memorial for their "One Nation Working Together" rally, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010, 

J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Liberals had their Washington, D.C. march and rally Saturday about a month after conservatives had theirs.

A noteworthy element captured in some of the reporting on the progressives' event was that people who are ideologically left-of-center are frustrated too, just like those in the Tea Party movement.

Economic anxieties and fears that the nation was headed in the wrong direction were picked up by reporters who talked with some of the estimated 175,000, who attended according to organizers.

Of course, attendees at Saturday's "One Nation Working Together" event had a different analysis of the causes of the nation's problem than those who attended the much larger Beck rally.

On this first Saturday in October, much of the blame was placed on Republicans and corporations as opposed to President Obama, obviously.

A passage in a Washington Post article made that point:

Edrie Irvine, a laid-off legal secretary from Silver Spring, shared her story with a gathering of unemployed workers that fed into the larger rally. "The recession was caused by the banks, greed and deregulation," she said. "It didn't have anything to do with me, but I lost my job."

James Keane, who carried a sign that read "Jesus Christ is a Liberal," said he drove from New York City because he felt "it's about time the Democrats marched."

"We've stood by and watched the tea party people go crazy every couple of months," said Keane, who is unemployed. "It's time for Democrats to stand up and fight for what they believe in. Obama has been a great leader, but so many in the Democratic leadership have been playing the fence."

Coming exactly a month before Election Day, the rally was meant to fire up the voters essential to the Democrats' hopes of maintaining control of Congress, especially the House.

But most political experts say that's a tall order, especially during a mid-term election which typically generates much less excitement than presidential elections.

Even so, these are not the worst of times for Democrats, not with a Democrat in the White House and their party still controlling Congress, if only for the time being. So they had a little more fuel for their hopes than has been true at some points in recent decades.

Another element worth noting: Saturday's rally showed some of the fissures in the Democratic Party. Just as the Tea Party movement has its different strands, like those who believe the movement should forswear social issues and focus solely on fiscal matters and those who disagree, the liberals had their differences too.

Again from the WaPo:

The socially conservative National Baptist Convention stood beside members of the Human Rights Campaign, and members of the mine workers union rallied with environmental activists.

To a large extent, whoever can hold their coalitions together longer, the conservatives or the liberals, will probably prevail in the end.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: