What goes on during Labor Day...
Labor Day picnic- a time to celebrate and organize for what’s to come
By Cai McCann
BURLINGTON, Vermont --- Monday afternoon on September 3, 2012 at Battery Park on North Ave., people were gathering. The first thing that I noticed when I wheeled up the remainder of the steep hill [merging onto North Ave.] was the smoke. A great pillar of grey, translucent smoke that emanated from huge barbeque grills, into the sunny sky. There was a multitude of people, some sporting red Bernie for Senate shirts among the crowd. The line for free cookout food was immense and snaked all along the park’s greenery, through puddles of shade, to the edge of the park.
On closer inspection, there were people talking, handing out brochures, and displaying posters. Clearly they meant business.
One paper given to me, presented the U.S. Senator, Bernie Sanders’s stand on the F-35 plane, the loudest, newest model of plane for the USA, but would bring down the value of houses in the vicinity, mostly in poorer areas. Bernie’s supporters say no to these new planes which are loud and unnecessary.
Once the musicians on stage stopped playing we knew the speeches were starting. Quickly we got food and sat down to listen. The top man for Bernie Sanders, Phil Fiermonte, introduced the speech makers, one after another. Some represented the mail carrier union and read out statistics, which showed that the post offices were losing money, mostly due to not being repaid their over payment of money from a corporation they once paid money.
One woman came up who represented the UVM staff that is demanding their own union. As the biggest group at the university, they need the support and organization of a union. As additional incentive, forming a union will stabilize the staff’s situation and there won’t be uncertainty about the staff’s situation. UVM staff will get a union and need support, though it’s the biggest group at UVM union thus they are subject to what ever demands of the school or other group.
A man from customs talks about how they’re under staffed and reads a phenomenal poem he wrote about the nation’s situation right now, in rhyming triplets.
Bernie’s speech came at the finale and left one of the greatest impacts for me. He talked about the nation’s situation with the huge deficit on our backs and the Republicans’ plans. He also vouches for President Obama to stay in office by comparing the Republicans’ standing on certain issues to Obama, a progressive.
‘When President Clinton went out of office, the nation had about two million dollars in surplus. However, once President Bush and what Bernie called “deficit hawks” (rich people who just wanted to make more money) came in and spent the nation’s money on Middle Eastern wars and didn’t pay it back. In enters the three trillion dollars in deficit.
In Bernie’s opinion, the deficit hawks came back now to bring back Bush’s ways by taking money from social security and Medicare which is used for disabled people, orphan, widows, elderly people and more.
‘The Republicans’ plan was to give rich people tax benefits and cut Medicare and progressive programs.’
‘Many people die because they don’t have the money to treat curable diseases ailments early on and much more will die if the republicans make cuts from Medicare.
Bernie also talks about other concerns:
‘It’s not right that 1% of the people get 93 of the income in our nation, while 60% get the remaining 7%,’
‘The pro-life republicans: if a woman gets raped, she has to bear the rapist’s child even if at risk of her own life…
‘Global warming is an increasingly consequential problem for people, yet Republicans think it’s a hoax.
‘This year has the highest percentage of childhood poverty
Bernie and his supporters (other progressives) want equal wealth; they also want to get Obama back in seat so that the republicans don’t ruin the nation even more. Their goal is to get free health care for all people no matter race, orientation, gender etc.; and spread the news (phone, neighbor, and knock on doors) about what is happening. Bernie and labor unions support each other, which is the main reason for this afternoon’s Labor Day picnic.
As a final, closing statement, Bernie says:
‘We especially don’t want an oligarchy that would result from a small party/family of people who are in charge of the whole country i.e. the republicans. They’re mostly part of the 1%
The crowd could feel his concern and emotion throughout this speech, and it was really an eye-opener for me to hear about all those concerns. Either way, the people clapped enthusiastically and with volume and lots of cheers. I would agree with one person handing out brochures, who commented, “This is history in the making”.