The One Nation rally held at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday appears to have achieved its goal of bringing together tens of thousands of Americans in the hopes of inspiring them to "march to the polls" for the 2010 mid-term elections.
Though organizers did not tell the crowd to pull the Democratic lever on November 2, the messages of hope and change coupled with sharp criticism of conservatives left little question for those gathered.
On the table were issues of jobs,
affordable education and equality. One Nation's current
The original call by One Nation was for Americans to demand the change that they voted for in 2008. One might conclude that the energy at the event would then be directed at the current administration and Democratic majority in Congress. Rather, the focus shifted from demanding change to shoring up support for a Democratic win in November.
One seasoned voice, however, didn't shy away from criticizing the President's policy. Singer and social justice activist Harry Belafonte took President Obama to task for his escalation of the war in Afghanistan.
The 83-year-old Belafonte spoke of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s opposition to the Vietnam war and reminded the crowd of Dr. King's words saying "America would soon come to realize that the war that we were in at that time, that this nation waged in Vietnam, was not only unconscionable but unwinnable."
With a voice strained yet strong, Mr. Belafonte declared "Now today, almost a half-century later as we gather at this place where Dr. King prayed for the soul of this nation, tens of thousands of citizens from all walks of life have come here today to rekindle his dream and once again hope that all America will soon come to the realization that the wars that we wage today in faraway lands are immoral, unconscionable and unwinnable."
Questioning U.S. presence in the region, he continued "The Central Intelligence Agency in its official report, tells us that the enemy we pursue in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, the Al Qaeda, they number less than 50. I say 50 people! Do we really think that sending 100,000 young American men and women to kill innocent civilians, women and children, and antagonizing the tens of millions of people in the whole region somehow makes us secure? Does this make any sense?"