And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I’ll will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.
But, of course, now that Mr. Obama is safely ensconced in Washington DC at the oh so elite address on Pennsylvania Avenue, neither he nor his shoes are anywhere to be found when when workers and “their right to organize and collectively bargain” are under not just attack, but siege, in Wisconsin, Ohio, and other locales.
Today, however, we see what real Democratic leadership in Washington DC looks like when the rights of their citizens and constituents are being trampled on. District of Columbia Mayor Mayor Vincent Gray and other DC Council members found their shoes, took to the street to protest the wrongs occasioned upon the District and its women by the budget compromise that Mr. Obama applauded and congratulated himself over late Friday night. Mayor Gray and friends led by example:
Updated, 6:22 p.m.: Mayor Vincent Gray, D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown (D) and council members Yvette M. Alexander (D-Ward 7), Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) and Michael A. Brown (I-At Large) have been arrested by U.S. Capitol Police officers.
Also arrested was Sekou Biddle (D), who is filling Brown’s former at-large council seat on an interim basis.
More than 200 protesters gathered, including local officials and activists. Police let them sit in the street for 30 minutes, then began arresting them. Protesters chanted, “No justice, no peace.”
Mayor Gray and council members Brown, Alexander, Wells, Bowser and Brown not only found their shoes and their voice to stand up for the people they represent, they were willing to put their physical liberty on the line to do so. Gray et. al should be congratulated for this principled stand.
There is a lesson to be learned here by other inhabitants of our nation’s capitol.