According to the “progressive” group MoveOn.org, which led the coalition organizing the nationwide rallies, almost 100,000 people participated across the 50 states. “The American Dream Movement has arrived, inspired by the bravery of the students, teachers, firefighters and other protesters in Madison, Wisconsin,” the organization said in an e-mail to supporters the following day.
The events received significant local-media coverage, as well as articles by the Associated Press, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and many other big news services. MoveOn.org said the amount of local press was “more than we've ever seen.” Social networking services like Twitter were also lit up with reports of the protests.
Organizers said the rallies were meant to “demand an end to the attacks on workers and to the cuts to vital services.” In the e-mail from MoveOn.org, the group said it was “done watching the middle class get squeezed while the rich refuse to pay their fair share.”
“The reports from across the country were amazing — inspiring and energizing. 1,000 people in St. Paul in 5-degree weather. 3,100 in a downpour in Trenton. And in deep red America, 300 people on the steps of the Alabama Capitol, and 400 in Jefferson City, Missouri,” MoveOn.org said. “The photos from across the country are beautiful, and make it clear that people are fired up. That we'll continue to stand with the people of Wisconsin as they continue to fight for their rights. And that yesterday was only the beginning.”
In addition to every state capital, government workers gathered in large cities from Los Angeles and Denver to New York and Miami. The New York Times reported that some 150 protestors — worried about possible budget cuts and union-weakening measures from the new Republican Governor there — rallied near downtown Miami. “This is a national issue,” the Times quotes one demonstrator as saying.
At a rally in Washington, D.C., admitted former communist and former “green-jobs Czar” for the Obama regime Van Jones urged government employees to revive the “labor” movement, according to a Bloomberg report. “Wisconsin lit the spark, but now the candle has to be lit across America,” he was quoted as saying.
The Washington Post quoted him, too: "The American dream is under fire,” Jones claimed, referring to efforts to rein in unions’ stranglehold on governments and budget-cutting proposals. “We don't believe we can just slash and burn our way out of our problems."
The Associated Press reported that some of the pro-government-employee-union protests attracted counter demonstrations. But according to the wire service, the big-government promoting rallies were bigger.
In Wisconsin, where large-scale demonstrations being referred to by the media as a “revolt” or an “uprising” are entering their third week, police said more than 70,000 people were estimated to be protesting on Saturday. Of course, many of those were bussed in from out of state. But some commentators have even preposterously compared the angry government-union mobs to the revolutions sweeping dictators out of power in the Middle East.
Government-employee unions are concerned that they may lose some of their influence if state measures such as Wisconsin’s budget-repair bill are enacted. Democrat politicians, meanwhile, are worried that they would lose some of their staunchest allies — and one of their biggest sources of campaign funds. As such, Democrats from Wisconsin to Indiana have fled their states to block votes on the proposals. To read about what the Wisconsin proposal actually does, click here.
The lower legislative chamber in Wisconsin has already passed Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to rein in the budget deficit. Approval in the state Senate, however, will be more problematic — at least until one Democrat Senator comes back to make a quorum. The runaway Democrat state Senators are reportedly hiding out in Illinois.
As the protests spread and grow, constitutionalists have also emphasized how much is at stake. “This is a point that needs to be made: If the public unions win their battle in Madison, et al, the electorate will no longer decide,” noted CEO Arthur Thompson of The John Birch Society, headquartered in Wisconsin. “The unions will decide how much they get paid and how many benefits they receive. The taxpayer can just keep working to pay them no matter how they vote.... This is a main issue that is alluded to but not precisely brought forth.”
Photo: AP Images