When president Obama said that it was best for members of Congress to stay on their summer recess and spend some time talking to their constituents, he was right. Much has been said about him bringing them back to Capitol Hill to work on job creation; but, as we’ve seen this week, voter frustration can actually pull elected officials back to earth. There’s nothing like hearing the voices pf frustrated constituents. Most notably, voices of displeasure from voters struggling to live.
OAKLAND — They lined up dozens deep to tell of their economic struggles and to plead for help from the four Democrats lawmakers on the stage.
A single mother laid off in 2009; an electrician who has worked only six of the past 24 months; a janitor locked out of her job over a medical-benefits dispute; and many more — the frustration was palpable at the “Speak Out for Good Jobs Now!” town hall meeting that Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, hosted Tuesday night at Acts Full Gospel Church of God in Christ.
Some of it was aimed squarely at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, who came to hear her constituents’ stories. Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, and Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairman Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., also attended. The meeting’s purpose was to record stories for entry into the Congressional Record, but some clearly had come to vent their anger at Pelosi for what they see as Democratic inertia in the face of Republican aggression.
“Sellout!” someone shouted as Pelosi began addressing the crowd of about 900; shouts of “Tax the rich!” and “End the war!” punctuated her speech on job creation. Although her castigation of House Republicans — for trying to gut the National Labor Relations Board, for delaying the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization, and more — drew some cheers, her critics remained focused. When she cited the recent deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and cut the budget without raising any new revenues, a man angrily shouted, “Why did you vote for it?”
“Because default is worse,” Pelosi answered, noting that the deal at least protected Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Architect Gert Thorn, 64, of Richmond, said he would like to see these four members’ efforts reflected by the rest of the Democratic Caucus, which he thinks seems to have lost its way and lacks a cohesive job-creation plan. Pelosi later responded Democrats have a “Make It in America” agenda of investment in the manufacturing, industrial and technology sectors to make products the world wants to buy, as well as public and private investment in rebuilding infrastructure from roads to telecommunications.
She stayed for only about half of the testimony offered Tuesday. “We waited to talk to you; where are you going?” a woman shouted from the audience. (source)
I can’t tell you how many times this week I’ve heard discussion surrounding Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Allen West, “Plantation Bosses”, and Harriet Tubman. The fact that the media has chosen to focus on America’s first Black president and dissenting Black voices proves one thing. That would be: racial politics rule. In this instance, it says that it is more titillating seeing Black folks disagree than anything else. What can I say, Black folks have always been quite entertaining to “certain people”. Yep, Nancy Pelosi being called a “sellout,” isn’t as big a deal as references to slavery, and Black political posturing. Yep, the fact that she left the town-hall early isn’t news.