- Racial Equity
- Talk About Race
I attended Saturday’s One Nation Working Together rally. Truth be told, there were too many speakers droning on about a mash-up of progressive causes from green jobs to green cards for illegal immigrants. The rally was scheduled to end at 4:00 p.m., but folks were leaving by the thousands around 3:00 p.m.
For me, the highlight was the surprise appearance of George Clinton who performed “One Nation Under a Groove” just for the funk of it.
On the way to DC, I noticed there were a lot of buses on the road. I also noticed most of them were less than half-full. As I caught glimpses of the faces of the black passengers, I felt a tinge of sadness. The reason: Less than two years after standing on the National Mall for the inauguration of President Barack Obama, they were heading back “standing up for the change we voted for.”
During his turn at the mic, Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, captured the frustration of Obama supporters.
While today’s march is unprecedented in unifying Americans from all corners, it alone will not create the change that our country so desperately deserves. In today’s speeches and community building, we must remind each other time and time again that we must vote in November.As the great Frederick Douglass reminds us, power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has, it never will. If we don’t vote, we don’t count. The choice is ours.
There is an ongoing debate as to whether the crowd was “less dense and didn’t reach as far to the edges as they did during [Glenn] Beck]’s rally.” But there is little debate that Republicans are more fired up. In the inimitable lyrics of Parliament, tea partiers are ready “to turn this mother out.”
During his “Hour of Power” radio show, the Rev. Al Sharpton asked the $50 million question:
What do we need to energize our base to vote in the midterm elections?
Why are tea partiers getting their voters enthused, but Democrats and progressives are not getting their voters enthused?
Why are they not voting? Why are they not energized? What will it take to energize our community and our base? And why are the conservatives able to energize their base and we are not able to energize ours?
He posited the possibility that “people are too disappointed.”
Callers offered a number of reasons for the enthusiasm gap. A female caller cut to the chase:
They need to get people on the campaign trail [with Obama] more than they are. We want to hear from him. We love him.
Indeed, a new Gallup poll shows Obama’s approval rating among African Americans is 91 percent. By contrast, only 36 percent of whites approve of his job performance.
While black folks have unrequited love for Obama, they are just not that into congressional Democrats. In fact, they want them “to get the funk out my face.”