Best Hero

Barbara Lee

Even if a vote against the war on terrorism reflected the views of many of her constituents, it still took a lot of guts for Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) to cast the sole “no” vote in Congress after 9/11. As she herself said, the Congressional resolution was largely symbolic — a call to unity to get behind the president. But while the resolution may have been mostly symbolic, the vitriolic reaction to Lee’s dissent was not. She became an object of ridicule in the national media where her patriotism was questioned. She received death threats. Rush Limbaugh posted photos of Lee showing her facial expressions as she listened to a Bush speech. Conservatives predictably resorted to red-baiting, dredging up her notorious visit to Marxist Grenada nearly twenty years ago as a staffer for then-Rep. Ron Dellums. “September 11 changed the world,” Lee stated on the House floor before casting her controversial vote. “Our deepest fears now haunt us. Yet I am convinced that military action will not prevent further acts of international terrorism against the United States.” Bravo.

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