House Republicans on Tuesday rejected a Democratic resolution to name a post office in Berkeley, Calif., after a longtime local activist and city councilwoman, saying 94-year-old Maudelle Shirek doesn't represent American values.
The 215-190 vote was an unusual refusal of an honor that's normally routine. House rules allow lawmakers to propose renaming post offices in their district, and fellow lawmakers usually agree without debate.San Francisco Chronicle
Until last fall, Maudelle Shirek was my Councilwoman.
Frankly, she wasn't around as much as we would have liked--we missed her at neighborhood meetings, and we could have used her help promoting our local business district--but it was cool to have an icon of the civil rights movement as our local pol. I felt proud every time I saw her speak at a picket-line rally. I felt proud when Nelson Mandela came to Oakland. He thanked Maudelle for her for her work to free South Africa, and hugged her on the stage of the Coliseum.
I'm also proud she's a supporter of the library where I volunteer.
Shirek is listed as a sponsor on the Web site of the Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library in Berkeley...
It's in a little building on Telegraph Avenue, just over the Oakland line. It's got rare books and pamphlets on shelves all along the walls. The rooms are kept clear so community groups can meet there.The library is a repository of publications of the left movements of the 20th century--the Communist Party, the New Left, peace and justice groups. Some desk space is let out to Women for Peace, and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and the new Casa Cuba Resource Center.
What I like about the Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library is that it's a place to talk and debate what went right, and what went wrong, in those movements, and what we can apply in the future.
Our Congresswoman, Barbara Lee, put a bill in the House to name Berkeley's Main Post Office after Maudelle. Maudelle's 94, and ailing, and she's given a life of service to her community and the world. It was one of those things that seemed so right.
The Repugs didn't think so. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, says Shirek's record "set's her apart... from consistent American values."
Let me say:
Giving one's life to public service...
Standing up for the rights of women and African Americans and seniors...
Backing labor in its fight for decent wages and working conditions...
Demanding an end to U.S. support for racist and dictatorial regimes...
And yes, working toward a time when the working class of this country has real political power and runs the economy to suit human needs instead of corporate greed...
Those are my consistent American values.
I happen to think they're better values than GOP greed, corruption, and warmongering.
They're better values than the slimy attacks of Joe McCarthy--the man Rep. Steve King says is a hero.
"I think that if Barbara Lee would read the history of Joe McCarthy she would realize that he was a hero for America,"
I think my values, and Maudelle's, are better values than the entire GOP side of the house ganging up to join in the attack on a 94 year old woman just to prove their point.