Today was the big day. Over a hundred rallies were planned across the United States in big cities and small towns. Our main points:
• It is time to fight for the bold change promised in 2008. Last week’s election in Massachusetts proved that voters want to see Democrats fight for working families and deliver legislation that serves all Americans.
• Democrats need to step up and fight now for a strong health care bill that increases coverage and affordability for American families. Now is definitely not the time to scale back or give up on health care reform.
• Corporations still have too much control in Washington, and Democrats need to take the lead in fighting for working Americans. If Democrats want to bounce back and win in November, they are going to have to put the interests of working families first with progress on issues like healthcare and the economy.
I'm going to write about one of those rallies in San Antonio, TX.
Whether you are inspired by our action or think we're plain old crazy, take a look. I've posted pictures too.
We met at High Noon. Sounds like a good time for a showdown in TX. Perfect weather in San Antonio - 70 degrees and breezy. We were ready for a confrontation, but for the first time since HCR started, after months of rallies, honk-n-waves, and town halls, the San Antonio Tea Party did not arrive. Our host for the event, Vivian, was relieved. She hates the tension between the two groups and I can't say as I blame her.
With no concerns of counter protesters, we settled in front of the Federal Building, home of the office of Congressman Charlie Gonzalez. Charlie has been pretty good throughout these debates... he has spoke out clearly for a public option and didn't vote for the Stupak amendment. He is not a member of the progressive caucus, but he understands the importance of health care reform to his constituents.
Our message to Charlie was two fold:
- Thanks for having a spine
- Help the others in the SA Delegation get one as well - Congressman Ciro Rodriguez and Henry Cuellar.
Both voted for the Stupak amendment and neither will comment on any reform until the Senate makes up their minds about what they will do. Both are in districts that face tough re-elections this fall and they are walking a very thin line.
Our crowd was a decent size - a little over 40 - with lots of new faces. As usual for San Antonio, we were diverse. I like it that way. We represent a more honest picture of Texas than the Tea Party Crowd. I hope that people notice.
Our host, Vivian spoke for a few moments and reminded the crowd of why we were there and while she was speaking, a congressional aide joined our group to listen to our concerns. Our keynote speaker, Jennifer, told her story which unfortunately is like too many we have heard before on these pages. She is young, she is very ill, she needs help. A new health care reform bill can make her life a little easier.
And then we rallied for an hour - it's a simple process. We stood on the street and waved our signs. We spoke to one another, made new friends, talked about the issues, vented a little. One of my campaign buddies who has lately been down in the dumps about all the crap going on the last week said he felt a little better. He wasn't sure if he had changed much, but his outlook was a little brighter and his smile was nice to see.
The intrepid reporter, Enrique Lopetegui, from our local weekly, The Current, came and interviewed several from the crowd and I hope to post his article tomorrow in a new diary about small rallies making the hometown news. Keep your eyes open and I'll update with the link here as well.
It's as simple as that. Vivian and I are both members of the San Antonio MoveOn Council and these are the types of action we do best. Sometimes they are small, sometimes they are large, but always people are glad they came and everyone feels like they make a difference.
Thanks to DFA, Color of Change, SEIU, and MoveOn.org for advertising and sponoring rallies all over the US today. Look for their stories in your local paper. Not there? Plan on making your own story next time!
If you would like to see more photos, check out the gallery.
Check out theAustin Rally on DailyKos as well.