OnApril9Iattended,withatleast 5,000 other concerned Americans, the New York State AFL-CIO “We Are One” rally in Times Square.
There were public and private sector union members and their families rallying against the right wing attack on collective bargaining rights in many states. We were also concerned about the use of a financial crisis, caused by fraud and greed, to further the attacks on the poor and middle class workers of the nation through budget cuts and the lack of a progressive taxation policy. If the progressive taxation policy, that is increased taxation for the wealthy, was the stated policy of Theodore Roosevelt, the Roosevelt of the Republican party and of Mount Rushmore – then it should be as American as apple pie.
At the rally there were construction workers, theatrical artists, civil servants, electricians, teachers, nurses, clerical workers.
We were white, black, brown, Asian, Christian and Jew, Moslem and Hindu, young, elderly, the unemployed and the retired.
We sang the National Anthem and pledged our allegiance to the flag. We remembered our troops overseas and at home. In short, those who rallied are Americans and your neighbors. We love this nation and are as concerned about financial chicanery as any Tea Party member.
Our solutions and hardships caused by deficits and economic recession cannot be borne only by the working men and women of this nation. Attacking the collective bargaining rights of workers is a fundamental attack on dignity, democratic processes, human rights and justice. Men and women died for the right to collectively bargain. Many countries have this as part of their written constitutions. International bodies and statutes recognize the importance of collective bargaining.
We cannot allow a financial crisis to justify these attacks on workers and to continue while our corporate and financial leaders still receive obscene bonuses and compensation. There is considerable hardship in this country. Many see their standard of living worsen daily. Lives are in turmoil and to attack the right of workers to protect their interests collectively is another obstacle to a society in which justice and fair play are the goal of the nation. Our economy must work for all or we will perish.
After the difficult winter we all look forward to spring and summer. Many of us celebrate renewal with the Christian feast of the Resurrection and the Seder dinner of Passover. We remember the unjust penalty of death given to an innocent man put to a brutal and shameful death – nailed to a wooden cross. We remember the persecution and enslavement of a people forced to suffer years in the wilderness before securing a homeland. Both traditions remind us, justice must always be a goal. Denial of justice for expediency is never acceptable.