At the end of last week, the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi replied to a mid-July letter from RootsAction.org and six other organizations that had requested a meeting with Pelosi to discuss her recent dismissive comments about four progressive congresswomen -- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib.
Our letter was signed by progressive groups with millions of active supporters online -- Demand Progress, Democracy for America, Just Foreign Policy, Our Revolution, Progressive Democrats of America and RootsAction. It was also signed by the largest caucus of the biggest state party, the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party.
But here’s the reply: “Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi is unable to meet at this time. We will be sure to let you know if anything changes in her schedule.”
Frankly, we’re not holding our breath. And we have to wonder: What if, instead of coming from seven progressive groups, the request for a meeting had come from one of the top donors to Pelosi’s House Majority PAC?
The hedge-fund billionaire James H. Simons gave $10 million to that PAC during the 2018 election cycle. Would his request for a meeting with Speaker Pelosi be rebuffed?
Or how about the billionaire real-estate broker George M. Marcus, who gave $4.5 million to the House Majority PAC during the last election cycle?
If you think that -- as the top congressional Democrat -- Pelosi should meet with progressive leaders and stop disparaging them, click here to send that message to the Democrat who represents you in the House.
Our letter pointed out that “the ultimate fate of legislative and electoral efforts will depend on active support from millions of people at the grassroots.” But inside the Capitol bubble, Democratic leadership seems to see progressive grassroots energy as more of a threat than an asset.
A month ago, Pelosi went out of her way to disparage Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley and Tlaib for voting against a bill that lacked adequate refugee protections at the U.S.-Mexico border. Pelosi told the New York Times: “All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world. But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”
As our letter put it, “Dismissive comments about new progressive members of Congress have given the impression of a disdainful attitude toward like-minded progressives and Democratic activists across the country.” And we added: “Going forward, it is imperative that your role -- not only toward those individual legislators, but also toward many millions of Americans who share their transformational outlooks -- now include mitigating the damage from those comments and providing the caliber of leadership needed at this fateful historic moment.”
If you want to help create grassroots pressure for that kind of leadership, take a minute to send a quick email -- telling your representative that, as a Democrat in the House, he or she should have the courage to tell Pelosi that her disrespectful treatment of progressives must come to a permanent halt.
After signing the petition, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends.
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-- The RootsAction.org Team
P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.
>> Letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, on July 17, 2019, from Demand Progress, Democracy for America, Just Foreign Policy, Our Revolution, Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party, Progressive Democrats of America, and RootsAction
>> Open Secrets: "Individual donors to House Majority PAC, 2018 election cycle"