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If MLK Were Around...He'd Be Talking About Poverty

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dajoki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 03:58 PM
Original message
If MLK Were Around...He'd Be Talking About Poverty
If MLK Were Around, He Wouldn't Care About Racial Brushfires in the Media -- He'd Be Talking About Poverty
By Rich Benjamin, AlterNet. Posted January 15, 2010.
http://www.alternet.org/rights/145203/if_mlk_were_aroun... /

<<snip>>

Forgive, for a moment, some biographical speculation: Had he lived, Martin Luther King, Jr. would not likely be bothered by these racial brushfires. Instead, he would be appalled by the larger afflictions engulfing this nation, all of which threaten the realization of his dream - not the therapeutic, saccharine dream peddled to us in candle-lit commemorations, but the urgent dream anchored by his gritty work.

The just-released jobs report shows 85,000 more jobs lost in December, with startling unemployment across the board: Teenagers (27 percent), Blacks (16.2 percent), Hispanics (12.9 percent), Whites (9 percent), and the general population at 10 percent and rising.

Socio-economic progress in the United States is no better today then during the latter years of Dr. King's life. America faces the same poverty rate today (13.2 percent) that Dr. King denounced in 1968 (12.8 percent). Meanwhile, the number of people living in poverty in that time span has grown from 25 million to a whopping 40 million, including 12 million children.

As the House and Senate dither over healthcare reform, and tens of millions of Americans hover on the brink of poverty, Martin Luther King's Dream remains more pressing and relevant than at any point since his assassination.

<<snip>>

Why not ask how we can expand middle-class stability -- earnings, savings, homeownership -- to the hordes of Americans, among all races, who are one pink slip, one lapsed mortgage payment, one cancer diagnosis, one car wreck away from destitution?

<<snip>>

"Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane," King declared in 1966. Two years later, the year he was assassinated, King launched his Poor People's Campaign, "a multiracial army of the poor," that marched on Washington to demand an Economic Bill of Rights from Congress.

"True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar," Dr. King maintained. "It is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring." Recounting the Biblical parable of the beggar on the Road to Jericho, King called for sweeping changes to the conditions that cause economic suffering. What does fixing the Road to Jericho mean today?

<<snip>>

Dr. King did not view poverty as a natural or inevitable condition of humankind. Instead, he believed it was the result of unjust economic policies and a lack of government investments that help people realize their potential. King's actual legacy teaches Americans and political leaders a great deal about implementing an equitable, purposeful, and long-term economic recovery.
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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 04:18 PM
Response to Original message
1. I wish he was still around. nt
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dajoki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 12:24 AM
Response to Original message
2. kick
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dajoki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 10:54 AM
Response to Original message
3. One more try for MLK Day n/t
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happy_liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 11:05 AM
Response to Original message
4. Is there any doubt?
He would be talking about poverty and ignoring our people here at home meanwhile putting our resources into the Iraq, Afghanistan, (Pakistan, Yemen) Wars....

He was killed exactly one year after giving his speech on Vietnam
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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dajoki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. No doubt...
the last years of his life he was ignored by the media while he tried to organize marches for the poor.
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 11:36 AM
Response to Original message
6. I think if he'd lived, he'd probably be in jail today. He told too much truth and too many listened.
:kick: & R

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dajoki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. True, the FBI harrassed him in his last years n/t
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nxylas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-19-10 08:15 AM
Response to Reply #6
60. Which, of course, is why he didn't live
Actually, I think if he was around today, the PTB wouldn't need to put him in prison. Too crude. They'd just get their obedient lapdogs in the media to give him Howard Dean/Jeremiah Wright/Emmanuel Goldstein treatment, playing one out-of-context clip in an endless loop to make him seem crazy.
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asdjrocky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 11:47 AM
Response to Original message
8. Shhhh. No one talks about poverty in America now.
It's like it doesn't exist, unless of course, you're in the middle of it.

Ask yourself this- When was the last time you heard a politician use the word poor? Or poverty?

Poor people in America are invisible. Yes, we could sure use a MLK now.
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dajoki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. You are absolutely correct...
My question is why?
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dana_b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 12:00 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. this stupid meme
that we all must be rugged individualists has set in - ever since Reagan. People who are poor are seen as lazy or inept instead of really looking at the situations that they are in.
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asdjrocky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 12:02 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Very good point dana_b.
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dajoki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #13
17. Reagan was the culprit...
but we had a DEM president sign welfare reform into law!!
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anonymous171 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #13
18. It's a double standard really. The rich never have to take personal responsibility
or pull themselves up by their bootstraps after their billion-dollar investment schemes blow up in their fat fucking faces.
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dana_b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. so true!!
but they will remain protected because they "create jobs" or say "I'm sorry" or go golfing with the Senators on Sundays or some other b.s.
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dajoki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 12:22 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. Or get bailed out by the taxpayers n/t
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #13
24. And yet, where is the progressive outrage? Where are the organized efforts to combat it?
There are MANY things that could be done to change that damnable perception, but people aren't interested.

I know, because I've tried. Many times, One Person CAN'T do it alone.

If we were really upset about the poverty lie, we would do something about it.

Truly.
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dajoki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. So true...
I have also tried with no success. I have a blue dog for a rep and everytime I try to get through to him about this subject his secretaries keep telling me they will let him know, but I'm sure they don't care and he don't care. I live in a very repub district and all he is worried about is getting reelected.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #25
27. Its not only about politicians....thats not what I'm talking about.
I'm talking about right here in River City.

You or I could suggest a very valid, and very workable idea to begin to turn around the attitudes about poverty, but it would be ignored, and nothing would happen.

People want to come to a thread like this and complain and moan and point fingers, but they reallyy don't want to do anything.

So, we suffer.

And, what's worse, we suffer alone.
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dajoki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #27
29. Yes...
I, myself, feel like an outcast.
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happy_liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #27
31. You are not alone!
And I think many people want to help they just don't know what to do.

It would be nice to see an outpouring of support and generosity like we have seen in Haiti...Americans with a little extra giving to others in need, Hollywood stars donating millions to help save people's homes or provide homes to those without, Sports stars going into inner cities with their millions and sharing with the community....there are just so few role models.

One place to start would be to end these stupid wars and wastes of resources and demand we turn our focus on helping our own citizens. Cindy Sheehan is the only one who is still organizing and a camp in in DC begins March 13...planning to stay as long as it takes. It would sure be helpful if millions of people joined her.

What are your suggestions? I'm listening...
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #31
48. Thank you for listening.... that means so much!
As I said, its NOT about charity... the RW does charity, and in fact, wants CHARITY to take the place of all government programs. That would be a disaster! This last Sunday, a woman who is a fundie gave me a Christmas card, because I just got back in town, and she didn't know I was leaving. In it, there was a nice gift card, which will be helpful to me. She is always pleasant and friendly to me, unlike some "progressives", I might add, so her gift to me is appreciated and her thoughtfulness means a lot.

BUT.... that is not something that will significantly change my life, and even more important, will do nothing for OTHER homeless people in the area. Again, it isn't about CHARITY.

What I'm specifically talking about are things that require thought and time and effort, rather than $$$. At least, at this point. ONe of the major things is that 1. we don't have anywhere to go to hear that we are OK human beings when the world gets us down, as happens everyday for homeless people. Just having kind, listening ears would help a lot!

2., As you have seen right here on DU, our biggest problem with making any kind of headway is IGNORANCE. There are things that I have thought of that I think would help---at least its worth trying. BUT, I can't do them alone!

So, you said you are listening... I hope you wlll hear me out on this, and be willing to help pull together some efforts.

Thanks again!

:yourock:
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happy_liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 07:32 PM
Response to Reply #48
54. I'm there!
What do you have in mind?


I have been thinking about making a flyer for this Peace of the Action protest coming up- FREE FOOD and HOUSING!

Seriously if all the people that are hurting, came to DC and helped build the tent city...maybe just maybe our 'Representatives' would listen. They will be providing food for activists, and maybe if it got going some people with real $$ could donate to keep it going as long as it takes. There are what 10% unemployed? If even a small percentage came out the turnout would be huge! Our politicians aren't listening, truth be told they don't give a damn what happens outside their two martini lunch bubble. But maybe if people were camped out on their doorstep they would begin to feel uncomfortable. It's hard to have hope these days, and this is the only positive step I can see.

But I am totally open. I know that affordable housing is the biggest hurdle. How do we approach that one? As far as the ignorance, wasn't there a poverty awareness group on DU? Let's get that going again...

I know that charity isn't the answer, but at the same time, we cannot count on politicians. We need to start looking out for each other.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 08:15 PM
Response to Reply #54
59. Great! Thank you!
Here's some ideas I wrote down:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

How 'bout Truth Squads..... people who are armed with the truth about poverty to call in to "progressive" talk shows, and start pushing to have this be an important topic.

I'm soooo pissed with David Sirota here locally... he dismissed me about homelessness, and won't listen to how he and other "progressives" ignores it, YET, he is focusing on legalizing of marijuana, because that is HIS pet project.

If it comes down to either/or, isn't it a little more important to have people able to live in a decent place and have quality food?????

*I* can't make any headway with him, but if, for example, there were 200 folks who would call in periodically, and write to him, we may make some progress.
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happy_liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-19-10 11:13 AM
Response to Reply #59
64. Let's start the poverty truth squad on DU
Maybe you can start a thread where we brainstorm ideas?
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nxylas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-19-10 08:17 AM
Response to Reply #13
61. I think it long predates Reagan
It's one of the founding myths of America.
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asdjrocky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 08:07 PM
Response to Reply #10
56. Poor people don't have money.
That's why we call them poor. Someone who can write a big check for TV time is worth 20 poor people willing to knock on doors. When you're rich your friends are rich and people don't do things for strangers, they do things for friends.

It's so simple it's sad.
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happy_liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-19-10 11:12 AM
Response to Reply #56
63. "Someone who can write a big check for TV time is worth 20 poor people willing to knock on doors"
I agree unfortunately, that is why it would be so great to see a new movement of hollywood stars and sports starts donating their money to people in need in the US, the idea that it feels good to help our fellow citizen, it's cool to care. Haiti has started up the trend, how can we get it to continue here in the US?
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #8
16. There are people not only talking about poverty, but also doing something about it
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asdjrocky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 08:10 PM
Response to Reply #16
57. Yeah, sure okay.
More useless links. In the last year I've seen people in my neighborhood slip into poverty. I've seen two good neighbors lose their homes so people who have never been to this street can buy them.

Sell it some where else, I ain't buying.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #8
21. "When was the last time you heard a politician use the word poor? Or poverty?"
We're waiting, Obama.

Can't bring yourself to say it?

So, you don't NEED our votes, then, right?

:nuke:
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 01:40 PM
Response to Reply #21
32. Yesterday
Unemployment is at its highest level in more than a quarter of a century. Nowhere is it higher than the African American community. Poverty is on the rise. Home ownership is slipping. Beyond our shores, our sons and daughters are fighting two wars. Closer to home, our Haitian brothers and sisters are in desperate need. Bruised, battered, many people are legitimately feeling doubt, even despair, about the future. Like those who came to this church on that Thursday in 1956, folks are wondering, where do we go from here?

link


First Family serves lunch


State-Level Data Show Recovery Act Protecting Millions From Poverty

Organizations release roadmap in response to President Obama's goal to end child hunger


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SammyWinstonJack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #8
28. John Edwards
When was the last time you heard a politician use the word poor? Or poverty?

http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/03/11/politics/politi...
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 06:13 PM
Response to Reply #28
49. Yes, but thanks to the DU Attack Squad tm, we can't use that name without getting jumped on
and having the whole thread hijacked down that ugly attack alley.

THAT is censorship, too, and its disappointing that it is allowed to hold people hostage on a supposed "progressive" forum.

(Now, watch the attackers come out in force.....)
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QC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 03:37 PM
Response to Reply #8
46. Class is the ultimate taboo in American politics. It must never be discussed.
We are more comfortable talking about incest and cannibalism than class.
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dajoki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 05:15 PM
Response to Reply #46
47. And that's why poverty will remain a major problem n/t
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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 11:54 AM
Response to Original message
9. Even on DU, Poverty = four letter word.
I noticed that even suggesting a connection between domestic poverty and Haitian poverty, for example, elicits howls of indignation--people in American inner cities didn't just suffer a massive earthquake! several have hissed, perhaps not realizing that it is the intersection of poverty and a natural disaster that make the situation in Haiti so dire(and New Orleans before it, as well as many US inner cities, albeit on a smaller scale,) not just the fury of mother nature.

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dajoki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. And it is no longer just the inner cities n/t
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 12:44 PM
Response to Reply #9
22. We simply will not abandon the Calvinist insanity that the poor deserve poverty
due to some "moral" deficit.
:kick: & R

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dana_b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 11:59 AM
Response to Original message
12. yep! economic and social justice
the issues of the 60s and before then are still with us.
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dajoki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 12:03 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. With no end in sight n/t
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 12:47 PM
Response to Original message
23. This is a fine article.... hope it affects some people.
Sadly, the author still couldn't help himself...had to slip in the middle-class, because poor people all by ourselves just don't matter.

"True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar,"

Absolutely.... its JUSTICE that matters, not charity!
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newspeak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 01:08 PM
Response to Original message
26. yes, I was thinking of that today
Before his death, his talks were more about poverty and economic rights.
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dajoki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #26
30. And you would be hard pressed...
to see that in the news.
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maryf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 01:46 PM
Response to Reply #30
33. an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.
Edited on Mon Jan-18-10 01:47 PM by maryf
Says it all, we need restructuring down to the foundations! Thanks Dajoki, K&R :hi: mf

oops, wrong place, but no harm done!
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dajoki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 01:49 PM
Response to Reply #33
35. Thanks Mary...
Edited on Mon Jan-18-10 01:52 PM by dajoki
you're correct, the entire system needs to be torn down and rebuilt. :pals:
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maryf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 02:45 PM
Response to Reply #35
39. When we get more to realize that...
we might be able to organize another Poor People's March... :pals:
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happy_liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 02:50 PM
Response to Reply #39
40. Tent city in DC begins March 13
nt
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maryf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #40
42. Is that Cindy S.'s thing?
do you have more info?
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happy_liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 03:25 PM
Response to Reply #42
43. Cindy Sheehan and Peace of the Action
POTA's stated objective is to: "Clog Washington, DC every week day through diffuse Civil Resistance (CR) actions to have the affect of tampering with 'business as usual' in the Capital of the United States of America."

http://peaceoftheaction.org /

Beginning March 13th, we will erect a tent city on the Ellipse between the White House and the Washington Monument to house, feed and otherwise care for everyone who participates and needs a place to stay.

POTA will begin on Monday, March 22nd and we will end when the troops start to come home.
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maryf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #43
44. Thanks, I'll be sharing this info!! nt
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dajoki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 02:54 PM
Response to Reply #39
41. That's a beautiful thought...
Wouldn't that be great.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 08:11 PM
Response to Reply #39
58. And the way to do that is to start some "reeducation"....heh..... No, not really Mau style.
:rofl:

Like, organize some important mythbusters, and get them out with billboards, newspaper ads, PSAs, powerpoint programs, etc.

If we really worked on that, we could make a big difference with the "great unwashed".

I think "progressives" are just too difficult right now...it's just not something they want to hear about, or are even willing.

I'm even thinking powerpoint programs with scripts, that people can download and use to speak with civic groups. Those groups have to have a speaker at every meeting, so they take a wide variety of topics. A good place to start. A young high school friend told me last week she would be happy to teach me powerpoint, and is very copasetic as far as poverty goes...

Otherwise, its just bashing our heads against the same brick walls.....
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happy_liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-19-10 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #58
62. Your ideas sound excellent
When you get the powerpoint going, post in on DU and everyone can help post it around and use it when possible. That sounds really helpful.

Also the truth squad sounds great. If you post a thread about what we can do, or who we need to call, let me know and I'll keep it going...maybe a few people can call in and the rest of DU can fill their email boxes.
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happy_liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 01:48 PM
Response to Original message
34. Obama is serving food today
President Obama and Family serves lunch at So Others Might Eat - pics
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...


He's setting a good example, however that organization would be feeding people with or without him.

He alone has the power to do so much more...
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dajoki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #34
36. Yes he does...
and I'm still waiting...
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 06:13 PM
Response to Reply #34
50. Anyone can do charity for one day. What does it change?
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bullwinkle428 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 02:10 PM
Response to Original message
37. I would just add that he'd probably have a lot to say about Afghanistan as well.
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dajoki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 02:39 PM
Response to Reply #37
38. I'm sure he would n/t
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 03:36 PM
Response to Original message
45. K&R
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 06:17 PM
Response to Original message
51. I gotta give Thom Hartmannn some credit... he opened his show with this theme today.
Martin Luther King and poverty.

Yes, he did.

Unfortunately, he didn't follow through like he could have, but..... he still said more than any other "progressive" with a megaphone.

Its all very disappointing, and it hurts.

I have heard Thom Hartmann say stuff about homeless people that is patently untrue, and would really like to have a corps of people who would join me in correcting him, and pushing him to make it more of an issue.

Anyone?

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JVS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 06:18 PM
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52. If MLK were alive he'd be maligned like Nader.
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laughingliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 06:21 PM
Response to Original message
53. +1000 Nothing to add to that. nt
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 07:54 PM
Response to Original message
55. +100
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