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Progressives March to Washington for Jobs, Justice and Education on Saturday

The climate will change in DC this weekend, as progressives assert a powerful vision for change, and scare away the Tea Party ghosts.

For nearly two years, the loudest and most insistent voices in American politics have been on the extreme right.

That is going to change. No longer will we allow a noisy and vocal fringe hijack the definition of “patriot.” No longer will we sit idly while right-wing extremists seek to turn back America’s clock to a past of fear and intimidation. No longer will we watch self proclaimed “real Americans” usurp the will and desire of the real mainstream, the American majority. Simply put, we’ve come too far, overcome too much, to not make our voices heard.

On October 2, 2010, the people of America will come together in Washington, DC, to denounce the cynical politics of distraction and division, and rally around real solutions for our country's problems. Under the banner of " One Nation, Working Together," a broad and diverse coalition will march together: for jobs, quality education and justice. We are marching for all Americans.

The creation of jobs, and most importantly, a living wage, are especially urgent. Jobs are what we need to speed relief and offer opportunity and dignity to working families. Among organizers, the demonstration has already picked up a telling nickname: The Million Jobs March.

This is, in many ways, a fitting title. Wall Street's reckless gambling cost Main Street 8 million jobs. Job losses on that scale have left a gaping hole in the fabric of our country. Until we close that hole, our economy and our politics will continue to unravel.

Instead of contributing to solutions or offering ideas on how to improve the economy, there are those who seek to further the divide and widen the political abyss. A caucus of xenophobic immigration opponents, conspiracy theorists and enemies of reform, among others, have banded together to wage war on the public dialogue, camouflaging their minority views in the cloak of patriotism, undermining and attacking any and all who are not true to the misguided "faith."

Fortunately, Representative George Miller of California and Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio have a strong proposal to create one million jobs right away. A million more workers will go out and make new purchases, boosting business confidence, investment and hiring—leading to more jobs. A positive, upward cycle like this is the only available mechanism for growing our way out of the federal budget deficit. Only a growing economy can generate the tax revenues that can begin eliminating the budget shortfall.

In other words: we should be investing in rebuilding America, thereby helping to close the jobs gap, which will then help close the budget gap.

Instead, as we careen toward a possible double-dip recession and a second round of devastating home foreclosures, the extreme right-wing media machine is desperately trying to discredit the idea that America's government can and should move aggressively to create more jobs. To the contrary, we hear incessant warnings about an imminent collapse, the ruin of the Republic, if we don't take drastic and desperate measures to slash federal spending to the bone and marrow. An army of "experts" is on TV all day sounding the alarm bells, warning of economic doom and screaming "the sky is falling."

Pardon us. Nothing they say should persuade our leaders to throw America's working families under the bus. We are in the middle of the biggest economic crisis in half a century. Through its negligence and recklessness, Wall Street has already forced a brutal austerity program on Main Street. The role of America's government is to mitigate its effects and reverse the damage, not to make things worse by heaping suffering on top of suffering. This is not the time to abandon schools, shut down clinics, ignore crumbling infrastructure and forego job creation. This is not the time to take more away from families and communities that are already losing so much. We don't need a public austerity program on top of the private sector–imposed austerity that we are already enduring.

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