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One Nation united

Herb Boyd | 4/12/2011, 5:24 p.m.
One Nation united

The 83-year-old Harry 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, 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 the 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, 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?"

Belafonte then broke ranks with the other speakers and directly challenged President Barack Obama's policy and its consequences. "The president's decision to escalate the war in that region alone costs the nation $33 billion. That sum of money could not only create 600,000 jobs here in America, but would even leave us a few billion to start rebuilding our schools, our roads, our hospitals and affordable housing. It could also help to rebuild the lives of the thousands of our returning, wounded veterans."

While those in attendance overwhelmingly supported this message, it remains unclear how "marching to the polls" in November will make it happen. Until individuals and organizations take away the opposition that politicians and the corporate media put before them--in this case, the "Tea Party," which currently holds no legislative power--and focus their energies on elected officials, the status quo will continue to be the order for the day.

If speakers for each of the issues presented at the One Nation rally expressed the same chutzpah as Harry Belafonte and zeroed in on the actual policymakers, especially the ones who claim to represent them, you can be sure that things would start moving. If One Nation truly wants to effect change, then they need to start planning and announcing a 2012 Report Card Rally to demonstrate which candidates made the grade and, if need be, open the door to a new class.