I live in the Congressional District CA-13, and my Congressional Representative is Barbara Lee. I don’t think there’s much sunlight politically between me and Ms. Lee. Barbara Lee speaks for me, as the saying goes. But what exactly does Barbara Lee say? She has a safe seat and a quiet voice, and that bothers me.
I’m not picking on Ms. Lee specifically. But I’m most familiar with her so I will use her as an example. In the June 5, 2018 primary election, she ran unopposed. She garnered 96.82% of the votes and “Write-In” only got 3.18%. She’s untouchable for another two years. But what does she do with her safe seat?
Let’s see. Back in 2003, she spoke out against going to war in Iraq. That was awesome. She’s a loyal member of the Black Caucus and a reliable progressive Democrat. Unlike Maxine Waters, she has no major scandal that I’m aware of. So why isn’t she the vanguard of the resistance? I can only think of three members of the House who are reliably outspoken on a daily basis: Ted Lieu, Adam Schiff and Maxine (who is dragged a bit by her banking scandal). The Safe Seat Dems should be among the loudest and most outspoken politicians in the US, yet I hardly hear a peep from them. Tulsi Gabbard occasionally speaks up but her pro-Assad BS undermines her credibility. We should have so many members of Congress speaking out that there isn’t even room for attacks on them, and the narrative wouldn’t be controlled by Republicans.
I just did a Google news search for Barbara Lee. While 2000 kids have been separated from their parents and detained like abandoned dogs, Barbara Lee has celebrated Caribbean-American Heritage month, invited the Warriors to DC, encouraged “canna-legal states” to promote racial equity and inclusion the marijuana industry (per a pro-pot blog), and gotten a portrait dedicated to her in El Paso. I am sure that she opposes Trump’s immigration policy and practices, but I wouldn’t know it from a Google search or her Twitter account.
Here’s what I’d like to see:
a) Sunday shows, talk radio, evening news should be filled with Democrats;
b) Twitter should be filled with Democrats;
c) detention centers, prisons, police stations and federal court houses should be packed with Dem politicians demanding access to children, immigrants, asylum-seekers and bringing along media to document conditions;
d) Dems should be demanding investigations into every aspect of Trump’s business, and into his enablers in Congress, demanding the IRS rescind the tax-exempt status of the NRA, etc.
e) preparing the legislation they intend to pass WHEN we take back Congress and the White House. No more of this 19 months of hearings for one healthcare bill. Get busy now with your listening sessions, cost analyses and written legislation.
f) more quietly laying the groundwork for impeachment proceedings. There needs to be a strategy!
g) rallying in Republican-held districts to support Democratic party nominees. Dems in the red districts need to feel seen by the senior members, who will promise to mentor and support the new Dems.
h) regularly talk to the political journalists and columnists in ALL their local papers (including the free weeklies) so we know where you stand on everything.
It’s not Barbara Lee who is alone the problem, we have more than a hundred quiet Democratic members of Congress who are almost totally silent outside of their districts. Some of them have good reason to keep a low-profile (I guess), but Barbara Lee, and others similarly situated, could (as one friend put it) “go ham at the State of the Union, and still be loved by 96% of her constituents.” Heck, the percentage might go up if she did.