I live in a ragged white and gray farmhouse that has stood two and a half centuries' vigil over the farming tracts of southern Pennsylvania. Located 75 miles from Washington, District of Columbia, my wife and I (along with our four young children) made the two-hour drive to attend Saturday's progressive "One Nation Working Together" rally at the Lincoln Memorial.
I was unsure what to expect when attending this rally, and we made no effort either to fit in or to stand out. Initially I had worried that we might be identified as outsiders to be mistreated, but this did not happen. As we expected, there were many people dressed in bizarre costumes or carrying signs which displayed obscenities and other unsavory proclamations, but these were in the minority. From our perspective, the crowd was orderly and had a generally pleasant demeanor. The rally area was not densely packed, and there were no lines for the port-a-johns.
We started out at the rally in a spot very near the Lincoln Memorial itself, on the north side of the reflecting pool. This would be on the right side of the pool, as observed from the Washington Monument in this photo. As the rally proceeded, we moved away from the Lincoln Memorial and towards the World War II Memorial, pictured at the bottom of the aforementioned photo. Interestingly, the information booths which were set up became increasingly radical (and there was far more garbage on the ground) as we approached the rear of the rally. By the time we got to the World War II Memorial, I was talking to actual socialists and communists who were displaying pictures of Marx and the Red Star. These were not the American communists of the 1960s -- they were clean, well-mannered, and did not become unhinged when having their ideas challenged. This is not something to be relieved about. I was stunned by the amount of obviously Bolshevik imagery that riddled the entire length of the One Nation rally. Such imagery has become a staple of the American Progressive movement -- in particular the image of the raised fist of the worker. The worker's fist was shamelessly displayed upon thousands of signs and t-shirts, and I am certain that the vast majority of those carrying it were unaware of its origins and meaning. The fact that thousands of decent Americans, regardless of their political stripe, can be convinced to march around, wittingly or unwittingly, with Bolshevik images, demanding the implementation of socialist programs, is deeply troubling. When recent onetime presidential candidate Al Sharpton takes the stage and declares, "This is what America looks like," it is even worse. If al-Qaeda can come to the understanding that sawing someone's head off and putting the resulting video on YouTube creates a brand image problem, so too can the socialist movement realize Americans might take issue with unhygienic, flag-stomping Marxists yelling, "Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home. Kill your parents."
The socialist brand image problem has been mostly corrected, although progressives refuse to acknowledge that their agenda is one and the same with socialism. KFC may be the result of a name change, but it is still selling Kentucky Fried Chicken. The same is true of socialism -- same product, different name, and bad for your health.
While it is deeply saddening to see the increasing polarization of America along ideological lines, it cannot be honestly argued that progressives represent the ideals of our Founding Fathers -- namely due to progressive notions of positive rights (such as health care and education) which necessarily discard Natural Law. Based on his recent appointment of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court and (either deliberate or accidental) omission of the word "Creator" when citing the Declaration of Independence, it can be fairly surmised that President Obama believes that Natural Law as a philosophical construct impedes the ability of government to solve problems on the people's behalf. If President Obama, like Elena Kagan, does not "have a view of what are natural rights independent of the Constitution," he and his progressive base must say so if they wish to be seen as truthful.
Based on the speeches given, along with the abundant signs and available literature, I would say there were four main themes at the One Nation rally -- the right to a job with a living wage, the right to education, the right to health care, and (to a lesser extent) the right to housing. These ideas are thoroughly socialist and completely alien to the American Constitution.
An excerpt from Article Ten, Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, to wit:
ARTICLE 118. Citizens of the U.S.S.R. have the right to work, that is, are guaranteed the right to employment and payment for their work in accordance With its quantity and quality.
The right to work is ensured by the socialist organization of the national economy, the steady growth of the productive forces of Soviet society, the elimination of the possibility of economic crises, and the abolition of unemployment.
ARTICLE 120. Citizens of the U.S.S.R. have the right to maintenance in old age and also in case of sickness or loss of capacity to work. This right is ensured by the extensive development of social insurance of workers and employees at state expense, free medical service for the working people and the provision of a wide network of health resorts for the use of the working people.
ARTICLE 121. Citizens of the U.S.S.R. have the right to education. This right is ensured by universal, compulsory elementary education; by education, including higher education, being free of charge; by the system of state stipends for the overwhelming majority of students in the universities and colleges; by instruction in schools being conducted in the native Ianguage, and by the organization in the factories, state farms, machine and tractor stations and collective farms of free vocational, technical and agronomic training for the working people.
Socialism has led to extraordinary human suffering whenever and wherever it has been tried. There is no reason to think an experiment with socialism here in the United States would be any different. It is our unique system of government which allowed Americans to become a great, kind, magnanimous people. My poor oldfarm house witnessed the birth of this nation; for it to witness her passing, and her replacement with socialism, would foreshadow humanity's very darkest days.
Jason McNew is a 37-year-old IT professional. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.