It’s fair to say the “One Nation” rally planned for Saturday in Washington is a response to the Tea Party, right? The plans came together after the Glenn Beck event at the Lincoln Monument.
The Tea Party’s not our thing, but we raise the point about rallies and counter-rallies after seeing that the AFL-CIO is using Executive Vice President Arlene Holt-Baker to pitch the One Nation event to its members.
One finds it hard to accept a pitch for national unity and “pulling together” coming from Ms. Holt Baker. In a September 16 webcast with the AFL-CIO officers on their anniversary of assuming office, she offered this (audio):
Moderator: Our next question is for Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker, and we received two very similar questions from two very different locations. Bill in New Jersey and Dan, all the way in Geneva Switzerland, say, the legitimate revolt of American workers against a system that has cheated them has been hijacked by the Tea Party, which has used hate and a bad economy to build its momentum. What can we do to stop their momentum, and lead the workers – poor and the middle class – in this country in a progressive direction?
Arlene Holt-Baker: Well, Bill and Dan, certainly the question posed is one that we are attempting to deal with. Certainly, the Tea Party, they have attempted to capture the anger and the frustration that so many Americans have because of this economy that’s not working for them.
And they’re using a tactic that is as old as the beginning of time, and that is the “divide and conquer” tactic. They promote hate over hope, and they believe that what they can do to the American people is to divide us in a way that we will forget about our own economic interest, because we’ll be thinking about that division and that hate, if you will, or those “isms” that always come up.
So the one thing that – there are many things we can do – but the one thing that is very effective: If you want to make sure that we do not let them have the ability to monopolize on this hate, get people so angry and frustrated that we will not act on our own behalf, then we will have failed. But I don’t believe that we will fail, because what we are doing at the AFL-CIO, is we are continuing to educate our members and the broader community about what’s at stake in this election. And what we’re talking about is the economic issue, certainly defining them.
Unity! Pulling together! One nation! Down with the Tea Party!
To be fair, maybe it’s just a big political get-out-the-vote rally and the pleas for unity are cynical shtick. Nothing excites the base like accusing your critics of hate.
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