CHICAGO – The 45-foot long, 28-ton, clean bio-diesel powered museum on wheels known as the “Bush Legacy Bus” is making a cross-country tour and made a downtown stop here during a Sept. 8th rally led by local labor and community leaders.
Speakers at the rally reflected on the last eight years under President Bush and how his anti-worker policies have affected Illinois families and communities. They charged working families cannot afford four more years of the same with GOP nominee John McCain, who was attending a fundraiser down the street.
Mike Yauger, president of Teamsters Local 786 and decorated Vietnam combat veteran, spoke at the rally.
“We’re here to support Barack Obama and to speak on the issues facing working families especially the failing American dream and the failed policies of Bush and McCain,” Yauger told the World.
“Republicans raise the question, ‘Is America ready for a Black president?’ Well working families across America on Election Day will be casting their vote for Barack Obama, not because he is Black. They’ll be voting for Obama because what America needs most is a good president,” he said.
Yauger added that McCain is out of touch with working families especially when he says the net worth of middle-class Americans is $2.5 million. Families have to worry about affording their children’s college education, or sending them off to Iraq, or see them return as veterans when the unemployment rate is over six percent, said Yauger. The unemployment rate for veterans is over 13 percent, he noted.
Yauger is the union coordinator for the Helmets to Hardhats program, which assists returning veterans with career opportunities. Through the program more than 700 Illinois veterans have been assisted since August of 2007.
“Working people toss and turn at night and can’t sleep because they are worried about getting sick with no health insurance or losing their homes, and McCain has six of them,” said Yauger. “They worry because they can’t afford to be sick and they work more for less.”
Yauger said that Bush wants to destroy the rights of workers, and McCain is no better.
“If you break your leg eight years ago but you still walk with a limp and have pain today, then you’re stuck with two choices,” said Yauger. “You either learn to live with it or get a new doctor. Come November it’s going to be un-painfully clear that it’s time for Doctor Obama,” he said.
The Bush Legacy Tour kicked off in Washington D.C. last June and is traveling coast-to-coast, making nearly 150 stops throughout the nation to spotlight McCain’s record of rubberstamping President Bush’s failed policies 90 percent of the time, organizers say.
The tour is being led by Americans United for Change, a progressive issue-based advocacy group best known for defeating Bush’s attempt to privatize Social Security in 2005. The bus features interactive exhibits on what organizers say highlight two terms of failed conservative policies led by the Bush administration and McCain.
According to the tour organizers, both Bush and McCain continue to ignore a crumbling economy on an imminent path toward recession, millions without health insurance, and an endless and mismanaged war in Iraq that has stretched the U.S. military to the breaking point as thousands each day continue to lose their jobs, their homes and their dignity.
Organizers at the rally say they want to call attention to McCain’s commitment to “staying the course” with Bush’s failed policies that have made Americans less safe, ruined the economy, threatened Social Security and shortchanged major U.S. national priorities here at home.
Other speakers at the rally included John Cameron, political director with Council 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, William McNary, executive director of Illinois Citizen Action, and Julie Blust with Americans United for Change.
The tour made appearances at both the Democratic and Republican conventions and will continue traveling through the fall, making stops at many of the hometown offices of GOP congressional leaders. The tour also plans on visiting New Orleans and Crawford, TX. For more information on the tour visit or www.americansunitedforchange.org.