Home     Writers     Op/Ed     Book Reviews     News     Bookstore     Photoshops     Submit     Search     Contact Us     Advertise  
  You are here: 

Wed

27

Oct

2010

Normon Solomon : Top “Tossup” House Race for Progressives: Raul Grijalva
Wednesday, 27 October 2010 08:35

by Normon Solomon

On Sunday, when the New York Times put a "tossup" label on three dozen House races with Democrats running for re-election, there were very few genuine progressives involved. In fact, just three of the lawmakers on the list are members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. And only one of them is a progressive standout: Raul Grijalva.

With a record of grassroots activism that goes back four decades, Grijalva is the real deal. Since 2003, his presence in Congress -- representing a heavily Latino district in Southern Arizona -- has been a force of nature for progressive advocacy on issues ranging from healthcare and education to war. And immigration.

Now, the forces of xenophobia and bogus "populism" think they smell blood.

Nowhere in the United States is political courage for progressive principles more on the line this Election Day than in the battle to re-elect Grijalva.

Two years ago, he won with a 30 percent margin. This time, the race is very tight for reasons that have little to do with his Republican opponent, a 28-year-old rocket scientist named Ruth McClung.

"Democrats are facing tough races in what they once thought were safe areas around the country," the Los Angeles Times noted over the weekend, "but Grijalva faces an additional burden. He called for a boycott of his state after Gov. Jan Brewer signed a tough immigration law, known as SB 1070, in April."

Much more than "tough," that law -- now largely tied up in court -- is the essence of systematic racial profiling. In effect, it requires police to target Latinos. In response, Grijalva spoke up for human rights.
 

That's why many right-wing politicians and power brokers have poured several hundred thousand dollars into anti-Grijalva efforts.

Speaking about immigration in early summer, Grijalva said: "Demagogues in the Republican Party, and their Democratic allies, will say this is about amnesty and open borders. No matter how many times they repeat it, it won't be true. No one who understands the issue believes we can just dig trenches, point guns at the border and live in fear the rest of our lives. We need legal, social, economic and political reforms to truly make immigration work in this country, and we need them now."

Days ago, along Tucson streets, I saw McClung campaign signs that said "Boycott Grijalva, Not Arizona."

What's at stake in the campaign transcends any district or state. On the night of Nov. 2, the returns from the Seventh Congressional District of Arizona will be about human decency.

Last Saturday morning, at a rally in front of a Grijalva campaign headquarters in Tucson, the spirit was upbeat. Close to 200 volunteers were there, and despite the enthusiastic responses to speakers (who included Grijalva, his colleague Rep. Barbara Lee, Progressive Democrats of America chair Mimi Kennedy and myself) the crowd was clearly eager to move past the talk and go into action.

Before they fanned out to walk precincts, Grijalva told the assembled volunteers: "A human face to a human face -- talking, neighbor to neighbor -- is the most powerful grassroots tool that this campaign has or any other campaign has." For video of the rally, click here.

Nationwide, for progressives assessing where to help in the final days of House races, the names of two other Democrats should also loom large: Alan Grayson and Bill Hedrick.

Grayson, an outspoken progressive from Florida, has enlivened the House of Representatives with his bold truth-telling. The New York Times says the race in his district is now "leaning Republican."

Hedrick, a teacher who came very close to winning a House seat two years ago, has deep and longstanding commitments to social justice. In a Southern California district that includes Riverside and Corona, he's running a notably thorough grassroots campaign against a corrupt and reactionary incumbent, Ken Calvert.

While weighing options in the stretch drive of a long election year, every progressive individual and group must come to terms with limited time and resources. Clear priorities are essential. Now, on the eve of an election when many candidates will sink under an onslaught from the far right, we should have a national vision -- and concentrate on saving the ones who most truly represent our values.

"We're in this fight because we want to be in this fight," Raul Grijalva said a few nights ago, at a Progressive Democrats of America gathering in Tucson. "Decency demands of us and of all of the people here that we fight on. . . . The values of this country are at stake."

Norman Solomon is co-chair of the Healthcare Not Warfare campaign, launched by Progressive Democrats of America. His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death."

More from this author:
Saddam’s Unindicted Co-Conspirator: Donald Rumsfeld (7530 Hits)
By Norman Solomon Saddam Hussein has received a death sentence for crimes he committed more than a year before Donald Rumsfeld shook his hand in...
The New Media Offensive for the Iraq War (10615 Hits)
By Norman Solomon The American media establishment has launched a major offensive against the option of withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. ...
Media Sham for Iraq War -- It’s Happening Again (9464 Hits)
By Norman Solomon The lead-up to the invasion of Iraq has become notorious in the annals of American journalism. Even many reporters,...
Is the USA the Center of the World? (6728 Hits)
By Norman Solomon Some things don’t seem to change. Five years after I wrote this column in the form of a news dispatch, it seems more...
Powell, Baker, Hamilton -- Thanks for Nothing (8094 Hits)
By Norman Solomon When Colin Powell endorsed the Iraq Study Group report during his Dec. 17 appearance on “Face the Nation,” it was...
Related Articles:
Immaculate Conception: A Squirt in the White House (14253 Hits)
George W. Bush's innumerable sycopants like to potray him as a down-to-earth man of the people: a man's man, tough and fearless, a good-ole-boy...
Postcards of the Hanging: Race and Sex in Tennessee (8848 Hits)
"The past is never dead; it's not even past." -- William Faulkner WATERTOWN, Tennessee – The 20th century was well into its...
The "Iraq Memorial" should go on the White House Lawn (7153 Hits)
by Mike Whitney Where will we put the Iraq Memorial? Eventually, there’ll be a memorial to the men and women who died in Iraq, so where...
Hang Times: A Whitewash of White House Complicity (9396 Hits)
by Chris Floyd Hanging Videos Here People often write to Empire Burlesque in search of an answer to one of the great conundrums of...
White House Chess (6381 Hits)
by Stephen P. Pizzo The Washington media spent the holidays trying to guess what the President's new plan for Iraq might be. Meanwhile in the...


Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Trackback(0)
Comments (0)add comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

adsense

Top