It was over 90 degrees in the shade, but the anger of the nearly 50 protesters outside Congressman Duncan Hunter’s office in El Cajon was even hotter.
It was noon, Tuesday, August 2nd, the day the debt deal was passed by the US Senate and signed into law by President Obama, and the protest event had been organized by a local chapter of MoveOn and its new coalition, the American Dream Movement.
As the demonstrators crowded around in a large circle under the kind shade of a tree, individuals spoke with passion about how Hunter was one of the right-wing extremists trying to “destroy the American dream” with the kinds of policies he supports.
One of the organizers of the event, Frank Gormlie (who also is one of editors at the OB Rag), just after 12 noon, gathered and welcomed the group together, and began speaking about how, even though “Hunter did vote against the debt deal, he did it for the wrong reason. He thinks the Pentagon budget will be slashed.” He encouraged others to speak, and speak they did – all railing against Hunter, the Republican Party, the tea party, the lack of paying taxes by large corporations, such as Bank of America and Exxon.
A smaller rally of about a dozen tea party activists was positioned nearby. Apparently, they had mobilized when they had found out MoveOn was coming to Hunter’s office to protest.
Several TV stations were present – including Channel 6 -, along with a number of online local media: a KPBS intern, a blog reporter from The Reader, the editor of Lemon Grove Patch, the OB Rag, and the East County Magazine.
Gormlie also spoke about the need to save social security and the rest of the safety net:
“Social security is not broke. The people who say social security is broke are lying. Social security has a $2.6 trillion surplus – it is not broke! Even if we do nothing, social security will be able to pay FULL benefits unti the year 2037! And it could pay about 78% of the benefits after that.
Social security covers disabled workers and survivors. Private retirement insurance does not. Plus social security is the most efficiently run insurance program in the world! It’s overhead is about 1% of annual benefits. Private insurance takes 20% for overhead.”
Several people who spoke talked about the need to support unions, about how bad for our democracy the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United was, and the need for continued activism.
“Are you angry?” Gormlie yelled out at the crowd – and he was met with a roar. “We’ve just begun!” he responded. Then he said in a more quiet tone:
“I want to address those with gray-hair now.” Some laughter followed. “My generation,” he continued, “and your generation did a lot. My generation dealt with Jim Crow racism. My generation confronted the rampant sexism and male chauvinism that permeated society. Can you even believe what little rights women had back then? …. And my generation also developed the most successful anti-imperial movement in the history of the world – it was the Vietnam war era.
We’re not done yet. We’re still alive, we’re still around. We ain’t in the grave yet. People like Hunter have not seen the last of us, not by a long shot.
We’re here to take our country back. You know the tea party used to say that. They sat around for the 8 years of the Bush era, and then as soon as a Black man is elected President, they say, ‘we got to take our country back,’ Well, now is the time for the people to take our country back.”
Finally, the hour was up, and people began drifting away. There were ‘thank-you’s’ and hand-shakes as a number of participants vowed to be back. Gormlie later said over 40 people signed up on his sign-in sheet.
Actions like these were held at Congressional Republican offices all over the country. This is part of the MoveOn / American Dream Movement to put pressure on the GOP at the local level.
Further actions are planned. Several San Diego County events will be held on August 10th – all to focus on “Where’s the jobs?” Stay tuned for more info.
Here is the East County Magazine’s report.
Here is Lemon Grove Patch’s report.
Here is Groksurf’s photos.
Gallery of photos of the event by Groksurf. Click on image for a larger version.