The weather was perfect — 72 degrees and sunny — for the "One Nation Working Together" rally at the Lincoln Memorial on Oct. 2. I was determined to go with an open mind because I wanted to try to understand what would motivate someone to attend an event sponsored by unions and self-proclaimed socialist and communist groups.
The first time I heard about the rally the thought crossed my mind how embarrassing it was that union bosses and their counterparts in a wide variety of extremist, left-wing organizations would put on an event to counter one sponsored by a television commentator, Glenn Beck. It was like a third-grader trying to one-up a popular rival on the playground.
Of course, the organizers would now deny they were responding to Beck’s 8/28 Restoring Honor event, but that in itself would be embarrassing given that they’ve been talking about it being their answer to his hugely successful rally since they first came up with the idea. On Saturday, I only heard bits and pieces of a few speeches, but at least one of the speakers shouted, "Somebody tell Glenn Beck there are more people here than at his event."
The rally started at noon and, as planned, I arrived in Washington just before 2:00 p.m. As I entered D.C. from the Virginia side, the first thing I noticed was that people were walking away from the rally site in droves. Not a good sign for an event that was scheduled to last until 4:00 p.m.
As I stopped at the first light after coming across the Teddy Roosevelt Bridge, I glanced to my left and was surprised to see a number of vacant parking spaces on 23rd Street — something unheard of in a city where you can drive around for an hour in search of a parking spot. I did a quick left onto 23rd and promptly backed into one of the available spaces.
My wife and I then started walking toward the Lincoln Memorial, an easy trek compared to the exhausting walk we had endured for the 8/28 Restoring Honor rally when the closest parking we could find was at the Willard Hotel on 14th Street. As we walked toward the Lincoln Memorial, people wearing T-shirts emblazoned with logos and wording in keeping with the theme of the rally continued streaming by us in the opposite direction.
On arriving at the site the first thing I did was try to estimate the crowd size, which I’ve become pretty adept at. This particular case, however, was unusually difficult because of the nonstop flow of people leaving the event early. At any given time, however, I estimated that the density of the crowd ranged from one-fifth to one-tenth that of the Restoring Honor gathering.
At the Beck rally it was strictly shoulder-to-shoulder, virtually impossible to walk in most places. That crowd was no less than 500,000 — and perhaps as high as 750,000. But one of the many differences with the 8/28 event was that virtually everyone stayed until the rally was officially over. They were there by choice.
To be as fair as possible, I generously factored in the large number of people who had departed two hours or more before I arrived at the One Nation rally and came up with a crowd estimate of between 75,000 to 150,000 — far more than the 30,000 to 50,000 I had guessed might show up. Clearly, I had underestimated the power of union bosses handing down mandates to their rank and file to attend.
But to me the crowd size didn’t really matter, because they were two totally different events. Beck is just one individual — a radio and television personality — who produced a rally (primarily using his own money) with a theme of restoring honor to America and to honor fallen U.S. soldiers. By contrast, the 10/2 event was a political rally sponsored by a wide array of well-funded, far-left organizations.
The big question is not who had the largest crowd; that wasn’t even close. The more important question is why rally organizers like Al Sharpton would be so focused on trying to show the public they could outdraw a media personality.
To the crowd’s credit, though the signs and rhetoric were brazenly anti-freedom and anti-free market, people were generally well behaved, though clearly lacking in enthusiasm. To their discredit, however, trash was everywhere, which I have found to be a trademark of those on the left — especially the environmental crowd.
Again, by contrast, it was hard to find any trash on the ground at Beck’s 8/28 event. There are many conjectures I could draw from this observation, but due to space limitations, I’ll leave that psychological endeavor up to you.
Tabloid-size "newspapers" were all over the place. One was called The Militant, which featured the headline: "Public education is a birth right, not a corporate profit."
Another one, Challenge: The Revolutionary Communist Newspaper of Progressive Labor Party, sported a logo that read "Fight for Communism." Mind you, this was a rally called "One Nation Working Together" — in the capital city of the United States of America!
Then there were the signs:
- "Wages that are rightfully ours."
- "We demand $$$ for jobs and education."
- "The American Dream promises a free education."
- "Black Is Back."
- "Capitalism is failing. Socialism is the answer."
At one of the many tables where books were being sold I wrote down such titles as Bolshevism, What Is Marxism, The Communist Manifesto, Four Marxist Classics and Black Liberation and Socialism. Quite an array of reading material for an event titled "One Nation Working Together."
Then there were the pamphlets, with such patriotic verbiage as:
- "Fight for a Two-Year National Moratorium to Halt All Foreclosures and Evictions."
- "Jobs for All! Public-Works Program Now!"
- "Make the bosses pay for their crisis!"
I could fill a book with what I saw at the rally, but to me the bottom line is this: The Oct. 2 "One Nation Working Together" event was simply a celebration of that age-old disease, class warfare. Unwittingly, the hate peddlers who promoted it provided a public-service by letting us know they are still out there, alive and well. And they are poised and ready to bring down the American way of life — especially freedom and the free-market system.
As I walked back up 23rd Street after my short stay at the rally, the little security guard inside my brain whispered to me, "This was a reminder that America is irrevocably split into those who want to put a stop to the government’s policy of redistributing wealth and those who demand that the government use force to give them even more of other people’s wealth.
The latter group (which I estimate at nearly one-third of the current U.S. population) is fully prepared to sell their souls to a totalitarian regime in exchange for the "stuff" they think they deserve. I’m not sure how they define deserve, but it matters not. What does matter, sadly, is that they are nothing more than pawns in a power game that has existed probably since the Neolithic Age.
These pawns have long been referred to — by everyone from George Orwell to Alvin Toffler to Saul Alinsky — as the Have-Nots. This is what the "One Nation Working Together" rally was all about, nothing more and nothing less. It’s an old theme that will continue to be with us until the last breath of humankind has been extinguished.
And the truth that many people do not want to believe is that there is no solution to the problem. The only hope is containment. Right now, a majority of Americans are poised to push back and try to contain the radical left from bringing down the curtain on capitalism and individual sovereignty. But no matter what happens on Nov. 2, no one should be deluded into believing the war is over. The war will never be over.
Start preparing your mind now for what’s coming after Nov. 2, and teach your children what Ronald Reagan said back in 1964:
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same."
After what I saw and heard in D.C. on Oct. 2, I can vouch for the Dutchman’s words.