It couldn’t have been a more successful day for all of the fantastic organizations and people participating and for Americans who oppose those who are trying to buy this democracy away from the majority.
Here are four videos, they will play one after the other or you can click on the arrows to advance to the next one:
And here are a series of photos, click on them to advance to the next:
I mentioned a number of the specifics about the event in my Live Blog yesterday so I will try to avoid redundancy…let me repeat that…
Before getting to an overview, I will mention one thing that was troubling and validating. While we were protesting in front of the hotel, there was a group of what seemed to be Koch Klan attendees standing in front of the hotel, just watching us. There, safely behind squads of sheriffs in riot gear, they almost seemed to be trying to show us that they weren’t intimidated and that “the people” were just troublesome pests whose protests were gauche little things.
The fact that they could just stand there and watch over 1,000 people rallying against them and be so disconnected from what was really going on, made me think that if Marie Antoinette was around today, she might have attended this conference and been standing right there with them, similarly bewildered why, if they didn’t have bread, the other 99% didn’t just eat cheap beef tacos that didn’t have much beef in them. Andrew Breitbart was there, thinking he was so clever, skating on rollerblades (so he could get away quickly no doubt, the coward) from the hotel and up to female protesters from Code Pink (I guess he thought he could take them…man, he doesn’t know those Code Pink folks!) and grinning while tossing out put downs at them then skating away. Such bravery is rarely seen amongst Republicans. And still is. Meanwhile, from atop the hotel, federal agents and possibly snipers stood watching the crowd. At one point, a helicopter that had been circling all day zoomed down far lower than I would think was legal and buzzed the crowd. It was not marked as a news copter nor a police copter, I have no idea who was in it.
There were many creative folks there who had prepared clever signs and costumes. My daughter was with me and her favorite was the person in the polar bear suit addressing the climate change issue that the Koch’s pro-pollution campaigns are contributing to.
The picture of the polar bear and of the front of the hotel, with sheriff’s in riot gear, Koch guests watching us with disdain and federal agents (and snipers?) on the roof can be seen in the slideshow of photos above.
Despite the seriousness of this moment in American history, it was incredibly energizing and affirming to be with over 1,000 fellow concerned and conscientious citizens, who came from all over California and beyond, to stand up for the principle of American Democracy.
The disappointment and futility that some folks feel out there due to Obama’s not addressing some issues in the way they had hoped or in response to the results of last November’s election is understandable but it was nowhere to be found yesterday, which was about the future.
What this successful action reminds us of is that we can come together and accomplish what we dedicate ourselves to. Dozens of organizations and unions with their own focuses and priorities, came together and united to create in a scant 3 weeks, a well-attended and organized event that earned national news coverage and exposed to many who had never heard of them, the Kochs, their agenda and their cronies.
Many things could have undermined this effort. Egos, apathy, negativism that it simply could not be done but dedication and conscience were what were exhibited. Throughout my involvement in this I witnessed, in each and every discussion and decision made between such a diverse coalition of extraordinary and strong-willed people, a model of how many people can indeed work positively as a team on the goal that has brought them together.
This should mean something to every thoughtful person out there. Yes, there are destructive forces out there that have great wealth and power but in a democracy, when good people have the will to unite and accomplish something, there is a re-taking of power. It may not be as dramatic as what is going on in Egypt right now but it is very meaningful and a valuable reminder of the power there is in unity.
Some may say, “So what, you had a protest, got some press but the Kochs still have all their billions and they still successfully held their meeting to plot how to take greater control of our democracy and economy.” That would be true. But the impact of this protest, which is just the kick off to an ongoing national campaign, is that they no longer have the cloak of invisibility they had previously.
Why does this matter, how does exposing the Kochs to more and more people take any power away from them? How was yesterday a “win” for the other 99%? Consider this, if you learned that Sarah Palin was helping to finance the campaign of a candidate or a state proposition, how might that influence your view of that candidate or initiative?
If the Kochs can be made “popular” enough for people to know who they are and what they have been up to, how might a moderate voter view a political ad or an astroturf “grass roots” group when they learn that the Kochs financed it?
Infamy is not the best advertisement for a product. By publicizing and exposing the Kochs, the Citizens United ruling loses some of its power. Though it will take work on our side, if they can be tied to the Congressional seats and laws they try to buy, their money becomes tainted along with whatever it’s spent on.
So, what happened yesterday was one small step forward in undermining the CU ruling and the domination over our country that’s sought by the Kochs. There may be those who feel that only big steps get one to where one wants to go but small steps in the right direction still move one closer to one’s destination.
It is time to look at physically taking action as a necessary component of empowering ourselves in our democracy. Blogging to get ideas and information out, to come together with others to explore issues and solutions are important ingredients in the mix, as are signing petitions, boycotting products and talking with people one knows. However, in today’s America, with the way our technology and society press us into comfort in our homes and routines, we need to find the resolve to break through all of that and get out of our homes and into the streets. As a community, as a society, as The People of this nation.
Though Twitter, Facebook and emails have played a meaningful role in the revolt for democracy in Egypt, we can all imagine how powerful this revolt would have been if instead of taking to the streets, Egyptians clicked on petitions to sign them and Tweeted to their friends, “We really should take our democracy back, don’t ya think?”.
The last thing that the Kochs and their ilk want is to awaken the sleeping giant, the majority in this nation, to get up out of their La-Z-Boys and throw off their Snuggies. What that 1% of Americans, who have inordinate power and influence over our democracy are afraid of is only one thing…coming out of their homes to find the 99% in the streets.
Much of the campaign of these plutocrats is purposely designed to keep us divided, as long as we are, they are free to do as they please. They whip up social issues, religious issues, hatred of others because they are a different race or unemployed or from a different part of the country. Divided, we fall.
What we can do though is choose not to participate in this game of division because just by playing, we lose and they win. We can be aggressive about confronting the Kochs and Co. but we need to be just as aggressive about seeking unity with as many fellow Americans as we can. Even a simple majority of Americans who are united would have more power than the Kochs and their crew, let alone a far bigger majority.
So, in the aftermath of yesterday’s successful action, there should be enthusiasm about the values we share and our ability to step up in the fight we’re in. There should be a consideration of what our personal responsibility is to continue and win this fight, what contributions of time, energy, resources and sacrifices of comfort should be made to physically participate in our democracy. And, those of us who are parents should consider how much more other generations sacrificed to give us the comfort we have today…and that, if the future under the Kochs is to take away much of that from our children and their children, is putting down the tv remote or the computer mouse to stand against them the least we should expect from ourselves?
The conflict is engaged, we are stronger than they are if we come together but can we? As yesterday proved, I’d say yes we can.