Angry protesters rally outside Congressman Duncan Hunter’s office

by on August 3, 2011 · 7 comments

in American Empire, Civil Rights, Economy, Organizing, Popular, San Diego

Protesters gather as organizer Frank Gormlie speaks to crowd, August 2nd, 2011. (All photos by Grok Surf.)

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.

About a dozen tea party activists gathered in response to the MoveOn event.

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.

One woman demanded that someone run against Hunter in 2012. Someone answered, “why don’t you?” and she replied that she just might.

“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.”

His comments were met with hearty applause.  Others then continued speaking, while Gormlie gave a couple short interviews to the media.

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.

 

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Dickie August 3, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Nice article, Frank and I liked what you said about “taking our country back.”
Up north here there was a similar if smaller (25-30 people) gathering at congressman Wally Herger’s office where one of his reps listened to angry questions and comments similar to the ones you have mentioned. I knew less than half the people myself, though there were a number of people I have seen at peace vigils and the like over my years in Shasta County. It was called by p0eople who identified with moveon.or/AmericanDream folks. Maybe most importantly it seemed like a group of people who were people who did stuff so I had the feeling it represented a lot of additional sentiment. Also there were quite a few people I might have thought would have been there and weren’t . . . I live in the hills, the political dynamics of Redding’s prog community is a little opaque to me . . .
there was media there: 3 tv stations and the local newspaper. Didn’t catch tv coverage but here is a link to local newspaper coverage:
http://www.redding.com/news/2011/aug/02/debt-deal-protested/
It certainly is a good time to see people out there saying meaningful and rational things.

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avatar Frank Gormlie August 3, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Dickie, great to hear from you and about Redding’s own similar protest. There were a couple of other actions in our county but I have not received any news of them yet. Good job driving all the way to Redding. Of course, I know you love driving.

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avatar Chris Dotson August 3, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Now’s the time to organize around “jobs” and “Obama 2012”. Let’s take our country back before the Teat Party sets the agenda again.

As I am currently unable to find a job as an engineer, I was unable to attend this rally in order to respond to job-finding emails. But I will continue supporting Move ON, and honest reporting like we find here in the OBRag.org. It’s time for ALL of us to mobilize around our Country and our president. Are we tired of being “sold out” by politicians and big business? Angry the Tea Party set the agenda and won the debt limit talks? Join the movement. Become involved. Obama campaigned on “tough choices” and requested we all get involved through volunteering. Most of the folks reading this article are likely already doing something to engage the myriad issues facing all of U.S. Give our politicians and our president more power to combat the greed and hatred.

Join together. Organize our priorities. Together, let’s go after some specific goals: Jobs and Re-electing Obama in 2012.

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avatar Frank Gormlie August 3, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Wow, Chris! Could not have said it better. Bump ^

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avatar thinking out loud August 3, 2011 at 6:32 pm

obama in 2012….you have to be kidding….thats a funny joke my friend……no way no how with 18% of people out of work and that bastard won’t even mention the real unemployment rate…. he does not care and the 20% wont give a rats ass about him.

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avatar Bruce Coons August 3, 2011 at 8:21 pm

The Republicans

First they came for our sons and daughters I said nothing because we had to get Osama, I mean Saddam.

Then they came for our rights and privacy I said nothing because I was afraid.

Then they came for our jobs and mortgages I said nothing because the rich needed the money to take care of us.

Then they came for our Social Security and Medicare now I can’t say anything because I am sick and dying in the street.

Apologies to Martin Niemöller

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avatar editordude August 3, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Here’s a report from our North County Council and their action on Tuesday: “concentrated on Issa’s office; about 50 people showed up with some media attention. At Issa’s office they even identified a possible candidate for his seat! “

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