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Liberals to Rally at One Nation Event Tomorrow on The Mall

There’s going to be a rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. tomorrow and, for once, it won’t involve the tea parties. The Washington Post reports that more than 400 progressive groups, who’ve been planning the event for months, hope to draw tens of thousands of supporters to the event — dubbed One Nation Working Together — and demonstrate a viable counterweight to the tea party movement. Indeed, the rivalry between the new progressive coalition and and the tea parties has been goaded on by Fox News’ Glenn Beck himself:

Beck spent a segment of his Fox News show decrying the march – and pointing out that among the more than 400 groups that have signed on are the Communist Party USA and the New York City Democratic Socialists of America.

“All of these groups, and the president of the United States, want nothing short of fundamental transformation of America,” Beck said on a recent show. “Do not allow them to get away with the lies! Do not allow them to say that we are just ‘one nation, working together.’ ‘We’re just trying to put America back to work, and putting America back together.’ These people, a lot of them, have fought their entire life to destroy America!”

NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, who’s playing a leading role in organizing the event, described the coalition somewhat differently, telling the Post that “What unites our coalition is a common goal to pull America back together and put America back to work. We are unified through a deep concern over a lack of civility in the political discourse. We are unified around our common vision of an America where we acknowledge our differences and work together to solve problems.”

It’s a nice, albeit somewhat vague message that has managed to bring together a diverse coalition of progressive groups from African American churches to LGBT groups, but whether it’s enough to motivate progressives across the country to show up at the polls in November remains an open question.

Denise Gray-Felder, communications director for One Nation Working Together, tells me that they “certainly hope that people will remain energized and engaged and carry that energy into the voting booth on Nov 2.” One Nation is registering as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, Gray-Felder notes, and as such it won’t be doing any direct political advocacy. She confirms, though, that getting out the vote will most definitely be a central mission of the group going forward.

“There is a major civic engagement and public education component,” she explains. “We’ll have get-out-the-vote information, and we’ll be giving out voter registration applications, so that is a big, big component of the next step of our strategy…. There is a civic engagement staff that’s part of the One Nation team, doing social media outreach, and there’s also a face-to-face component where, as of first thing Sunday, people will be out going door-to-door. People at the rally will be asked to make a commitment to make ten calls, recruit least two friends to volunteer, and volunteer at least ten hours getting out the vote.”

Asked whether One Nation was at all disappointed that Comedy Central stars Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart had announced yet another rally for later in October — as opposed to potentially joining forces with the group, Gray-Felder told me that “we’re never discouraged by anyone who wants to help promote engagement and shares the same commitment to helping the middle class and working Americans get economic stability, as we believe they do.”

“We’re encouraged, but we’re not a celebrity-led event and we’re not about glitz or status,” she adds. ”It’s about focusing on people who are never in the spotlight normally. Our march has been planned for many months and we’d love to have anybody from their shows — including them — and we invite them to come out on Saturday.”

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