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Chicago Sun-Times

It's Time for Nation to Stand Together for Jobs, Education

In Washington this Saturday, I will join tens of thousands of Americans to march for jobs, justice and education. The march is called together under the banner of One Nation: Working Together, a large coalition of more than 400 organizations.


Why do we march? We march for hope. We've seen the politics of fear. Fear that America is in permanent decline. Fear that America is being changed for the worse. Fear that the president is not a citizen.

One Nation calls us back to positive purpose. This nation can't go return to the ideas that drove us off the cliff. We can't allow entrenched interests to control our government and weaken the common good. We can't listen to those who stand in the way of change.

The vast majority of Americans understand the need for reform. We have to create jobs and put people to work, invest in renewable energy and capture a lead role in the green industrial revolution that is sweeping the globe. We need to empower workers and hold bankers accountable.

We can't be misled by misleading arguments. Consider the debate about taxes. Under the Obama proposal, the wealthiest Americans -- those who make more than $250,000 -- will get the same tax breaks as everyone else on the first $250,000 of their income. But it doesn't make sense to borrow an extra $700 billion over the next decade to give them an additional tax break for the money they make over $250,000.

We march for the unity that is the strength of our diversity -- young and old, black and white, yellow and brown, men and women, immigrants of different generations, small business owners and workers, teachers and students, the poor and the affluent, people of all faiths. A quilt like my mother used to make: many patches of many colors and textures, bound together by a common thread to make something of beauty and warmth.

We choose common ground over racial battlegrounds. We march so that children -- all children -- can have a fair and healthy start in life, and a world-class education from pre-K to college. We march so that workers -- all workers -- can fairly share in the profits and productivity that they help to create.

The New York Times suggests that our agenda is as extensive as our coalition, but we know the big changes we need. Jobs now. A commitment to world-class education for all. Justice even for the powerful; opportunity even for the poor. We represent an America confident enough to address the challenges it faces and overcome the powerful interests and lobbies that stand in the way.

This march will reflect the emerging reform majority that showed its potential in 2008. That majority is committed to transforming America, not taking it back to an idealized past that never existed. That majority works for a government by, for and of the people, not an instrument for the moneyed and the powerful. We've heard the voices of reaction. We share the same anger about our current condition, but like our founders and each succeeding generation, we look to make America better, not take it backward.

So this Saturday, we will march to revive hope. When our spirits are broken, our faith surrenders. So we must march. We can survive broken sidewalks and broken buildings. We cannot survive the collapse of spirit. In these difficult hours, you can't fight fate with fists and guns. You fight fate with faith. Faith is the substance of what is hoped for, evidence of what is unseen. Even with our backs against the wall, we can see a new heaven and a new earth -- the old one passes away. We have been down, but the ground is no place for a champion. We are one nation, if we make it so. We are a nation of hope if we keep hope alive. And so we march on 10-2-10, and we will march to the polls on 11-2-10.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do.

Jesse Jackson

Jesse Jackson

Jesse Jackson is an African-American civil rights activist and Baptist minister. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 and served as shadow senator for the District of Columbia from 1991 to 1997. He was the founder of both entities that merged to form Rainbow/PUSH.

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