‘One Nation’ for Whom?

The Oct. 2 rally sounds good in name, but let's call it what it really is: an attempt to unite liberals in time for the November elections.

Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean (Getty Images)
Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean (Getty Images)

Years ago, there was a time when national organizations, public speakers and public figures could be counted on to truly bring together the nation. Martin Luther King Jr. and others did this, most famously at the Mall. They used their platforms to call out their oppressors where necessary and chastise their supporters when needed — not merely to rally them to vote in an election. Leadership to inspire action on such a broad scale — such as the One Nation rally — requires that honesty and unity be present in the planning, execution and aftermath of one’s actions, with an exclusive focus on uplifting results.

A Dearth of Statesmen

The economic crisis is already putting us through the worst of times. The political environment is turning it even more negative. With a dearth of real American statesmen and women out there — people who are skilled at reconciling past differences and making appropriate compromise — we no longer have the social structures to regain our sense of stablity and common identity as “one nation.”

Instead of offering an alternative to what they say is the primary focus of the Tea Party — dividing America with polarizing political and social rhetoric — the One Nation leadership has acquiesced to the “You’re for us or against us” mind-set that first came onto the American landscape during the Bush White House years, a direction we were promised we would move away from during the Obama era. Sadly, the One Nation march symbolizes an era in which everything seems to be burning down around us economically, socially and morally in America, and too many leaders want to invoke the “fight fire with fire” mantra. 

We must admit: In facing the challenges of hard choices and tough times today, we cannot continue to bypass any opportunity to unite our nation for liberty and justice for all — be it under God (as the Pledge of Allegiance rightly states), under a common stance against terrorism or under a common vision for a more prosperous country. However, as long as we continue to refuse to listen to one another while calling our efforts “nonpartisan,” we will move away from truly being one nation.

Lenny McAllister is a syndicated political commentator and frequent contributor to The Root. He hosts the morning radio show Launching Chicago With Lenny McAllister on WVON, the Talk of Chicago 1690 AM. Follow him at Twitter and on Facebook.

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