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Woke voters know fluff from substance

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Published in St. Louis American, August 2, 2022

When Congresswoman Cori Bush was recently arrested following an abortion rights protest at the U.S. Supreme Court Building conservative critics called her out.

“Stop being a protestor and concentrate on being a legislator,” was the right-wing story line.

First, the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

Two, woke voters want to see their elected officials join them in protests. We need to see passion on an issue of such a dire nature as reproductive rights.

The elections of St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and Bush were a rejection of politics as usual and came after waves of activism.

Woke voters are sophisticated enough to know simple “sloganeering” is different from a strategy that produces progressive change.

I’m an honor graduate of the University of Direct Action and Protests. I have accumulated hundreds of hours in continuing education. Don’t expect condemnation of protests and civil disobedience from me.

I’m adamant that direct action must be tied to strategy. If not, you’re just getting people together to vent. That’s an irresponsible waste of time and energy. 

After Bush won a decisive victory over Lacy Clay, she vowed to bring the “whole activist community” with her into office. In the spirit of President Obama, she represents every constituent in her district – not just those who voted for her. 

In her first term of office, Bush has sponsored and/or helped pass nearly 30 pieces of legislation that benefit the 1st Congressional District including the city of St. Louis. Included is the child tax credit, which immediately lifted 40% of children out of poverty.

Bush was key in passage of the Protecting our Kids Act, which strengthened gun laws to help keep children and youth safe.

The elections of St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and Bush were a rejection of politics as usual and came after waves of activism.

Bush made sure the St. Louis region got its fair share of federal dollars for coronavirus relief. The almost half a billion dollars was the most for any city or county in Missouri. Mayor Jones is making sure that St. Louis residents have input on how those funds are spent. That’s called cooperation to benefit the people.

If there’s criticism to be leveled against protests, how about directing that outrage to those involved in the January 6 insurrection. It was an illegal act of violence that represented an assault on a fragile U.S. democracy.

All involved should be exposed and punished to the full extent of the law. This was not the work of concerned citizens. This was a riot sparked by a small, violent white minority.

Bush has a vision, has many goals and an abundance of energy. These are the ingredients of an effective public servant.

Being a self-described “politivist” attracts a gallery of online and social media trolls and critics. Death threats are common for simply advocating for her constituents.

Voters who know the value of direct action will continue to encourage her to hit the streets when she feels it is warranted. We’ll also help her combine activism and craft informed and humane legislation that improves lives.

That’s what democracy looks like.

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