Tuesday, July 26, 2011

America gets its protest on today

Today's protest at the office of Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J.
Americans are boiling mad that their representatives want to cut programs like Medicare and Social Security -- programs that Americans pay for. Unnoticed by the mainstream media, thousands of people went out to their member of Congress's office today at noon and rallied to save the American Dream. (And we're not even counting Wisconsin.)

Had these been Tea Party protests, the news coverage would have been a teensy bit different. So we rely on the tweetosphere and the blogosphere and the Facebooksphere to tell us what's going on.

Protest at Rep. Robert Hurt's (R-VA) office.
We learn from Facebook that there was a rally at Republican Rep. Charlie Bass's office in Nashua, N.H. -- and that Newt Gingrich, dining al fresco nearby, got caught up in the action. (Check out the photo -- he doesn't look pleased.) We learn from Twitter that there was a rally at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's office in California. And Democratic Rep. Howard Berman's office in California. And Republican Rep. Vicki Jo Hartzler's office in Missouri. And on and on and on.

In Fishkill, N.Y., police were summoned when Rep. Nan Hayworth's constituents  -- many of them senior citizens -- tried to meet with her staff. Reports the Poughkeepsie Journal,
Shortly after noon, the privately owned building’s management called Fishkill town police to turn away visitors who did not have appointments with the Republican congressowman’s staff, according to Nat Sillin, Hayworth’s communication’s director.
However, staff did meet with about 50 individuals who did not have appointments inside the office and with more outside the building, he said. About 30 cars were turned away, he said.

But Fishkill resident Sharon Morgese said some constituents, many of them senior citizens, were barred from entering the building and did not meet with the congresswoman’s staff.
"I was furious," she said.
Here's a sampling of tweets from protesters around the country:
30 citizens visited @repjohnklinekline Burnsville office at noon today to implore him to #SaveAmericanDream

More than 20 constituents showed up for a rally outside of Rep. Fitzpatrick's office in Newtown, PA!
Rep. Erik Paulsen #SaveAmericanDream protest today

There's a rally at Rep. Barbara Lee's office in Oakland, Calif.

About 18 ppl rallied outside Rep's office in Newton today to tell #Garrett Don't Default!

@MoveOn 30 people show up to protest at @reptimgriffin's office in AR.

On my way #SaveAmericanDream to Rep. Lujan's office.

About 12 people showed up @RepJasonAltmire! Thank you for taking the time and support!”

Rebuild the Dream -- an offshoot of moveon.org -- spurred thousands of people to meet earlier this month to talk about restoring the middle class. We learn from the Rebuild the Dream website that
...over 25,000 of you met in nearly 1600 living rooms across America to share your stories and to discuss the next steps toward taking back the American Dream. You held meetings in every single one of the four hundred thirty-five congressional districts in this country. From Missoula, Montana to Midtown Manhattan, from Santa Monica, California...

By comparison, the Tea Party held only 800 meetings on its first organized day in April 2009. And that was with a full on blast of two months of promotion by Fox News. You organized your meetings strictly through e-mails from our partner organizations, word of mouth, and the good will of all the great hosts out there to open up your homes – no national cable news network necessary.
Here's a slide show of some of the protests at congressional offices around the country.
Progressive Maryland organized a protest yesterday at the Social Security offices in Woodlawn. You can see a video here.