February 11th, 2014
Americans take to the streets (finally) for justice
They came by the hundred thousands. You might think this is about the 750,000 Seattle Seahawks fans clogging the streets of Seattle to greet their NFL team coming home triumphant from the Super Bowl (pictured on the left). In a way, they make the point for me that it took the NFL to get people to take to the streets. But it was a feel-good parade that few could argue with. And note that the parade’s participants outnumbered the population of Seattle. Some converged on the city from far away. WBI lives 100 miles north and there were two busloads and untold car pools who made the trek. So this is what it takes to move people to act, to stand in the frigid air to make a statement of some sort.
Why don’t Americans protest in the streets? Robert Reich wrote that despite the economic pain suffered by the poor — underpaid workers, the underemployed and the unemployed — we Americans are afraid to protest corporate greed and government indifference lest we lose our jobs. He also believes that our cynicism about government, now commonplace thanks to an unrelenting message from the right for over 40 years, keeps us in our couches.
But hope springs eternal. A bit of background. North Carolina is one of several states where rabid right wingers (don’t call ’em conservatives) control the state legislature and the governor’s seat. The politicians who seem to hate citizens have run amok, trampling voting rights, undermining public education and seemingly re-segregating the state as was done after the Civil War (or War of Northern Aggression) via Jim Crow laws. Bill Moyers produced a mini-documentary on the recent setbacks for North Carolinians.
In N.C., Rev. William Barber, pastor, PhD in public policy, State NAACP President, and organizer extraordinaire, has led what he called “Moral Monday” protests. They began with a half dozen people at his church. Barber, the smart organizer staged an event on Feb. 8 in Raleigh (see poster) that included activists for multiple progressive causes. In fact, the event had a 14-point agenda. On Sunday, the crowd estimated at between 80,000 and 100,000 marchers took over Raleigh.
Moral marchers modeled for other Americans one week after the Super Bowl that other things matter beside the NFL: quality public schools, livable wage, health care for all, increased access to voting, affordable housing, end of the death penalty, immigrant rights, and redress for North Carolina’s racist past. It was heartening to see the successful event. It should remind us of our rebellious history, that our nation was forged by protest. Too bad the corporate media kinda ignored it all.
WBI salutes the Moral Monday movement in North Carolina and around the nation.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 at 11:55 am and is filed under Commentary by G. Namie, Good News, The New America. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.