Barbara Lee is my homegirl

Barbara Lee never ceases to amaze me. She’s a congresswoman with balls, and if she ever runs for President, I will vote for her. She was my representative when I lived in Oakland, and she was always accessible and helpful to her constituency–and she stood up for us and our positions on politics. Perhaps I just like her because I like her politics, but I also respect a representative who truly represents the people who voted for her. She cares about what her constituents think and she advocates for them in Washington. She works hard for them because she understands that they are her base.

Barbara Lee was the only representative bold enough to vote against a measure giving Mr Bush unlimited war powers. She’s consistently held her ground, and will not give way. She’s opposed to the war in Iraq, and has sponsored and supported strong legislation dealing with the war, as well as other important issues. I’m glad that she’s on the House International Relations Committee, because I know she’s a voice of reason in the forest of warmongers. She is concerned about environmental issues on a national and global scale, and seems to understand the interconnected nature of a great number of issues better than most members of the House.

But she doesn’t just deal with international issues–she sponsored a living wage bill, she’s committed to affordable and safe housing, she believes in building a healthy economy and in making healthcare accessible. She’s certainly my kind of girl–I’m almost sad I don’t live in Oakland anymore because Mike Thompson, my current representative, is a complete and utter weinie who allows Napa to lead him around by the testicles. Barbara Lee is the sort of representative that someone can be proud of. Perhaps I’m so attached to her because I see clear evidence that she cares in every measure she introduces in the House, and ever effort she makes on behalf of her constituents. She’s in politics because she wants to make a difference, not for fame or power or money. And I like that.

Today she was arrested in Washington along with six other representatives. All members of the Black Caucus, they were protesting in front of the Sudanese Embassy. The group is urging stronger sanctions and divestment from Sudan, as well as direct action to end the genocide which is occurring in Darfur. The members of the group were arrested for blocking the entrance to the embassy and will be fined.

I was pleased when I read the article to see that some members of the House feel strongly enough about an issue to get arrested over it. It gives me hope for direct action in general when elected representatives participate in protests with the explicit purpose of getting arrested. (And what a great way to generate headlines over an issue.) It also made me a little ashamed that my representative is unlikely to take such a strong position on an issue. I wonder if districts are allowed to steal representatives from other districts?

I hope that Barbara Lee keeps on going, because I know that people all over the country are immensely proud of her, and are thinking the best thoughts for her. She’s a strong and powerful woman–a great role model, a wonderful representative, and a fighter for justice. Keep fighting, Barbara, and don’t let the man get you down.

[Barbara Lee]