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Passions in Poetry

Shirek Silence

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Mistletoe Angel
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0 posted 09-28-2005 12:37 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California has been working for over two years to name Oakland's main post office in honor of a longtime councilwoman and civil rights leader, Maudelle Shirek.

Among her most noted accomplishments throughout her life include advocating for rights of the "elderly (she delivered meals for years to homebound seniors), healthy foods and world peace.". She was long considered the council's most leftist member, who advocated many liberal and progressive causes.

However, Iowa Congressman Steve King (R-IA) has declared to make an effort to object the proposal, insisting that Shirek's past "sets her apart from, I will say, the most consistent of American values."

Among acts in her history under questioning including the support of releasing Mumia Abu-Jamal, who is convicted of killing a police officer in 1981, who has become the center of a debate over whether he is a political prisoner or not. In addition, King is questioning Shirek's involvement in the Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library in Berkeley, a place said to have had communist influence.

According to the article, "the library's Web site says it was named for Karl Niebyl, a San Jose State professor of economics who escaped Nazi Germany and donated his collection after his death, and Roscoe Proctor, a teacher and African American activist. The research library provides information on "progressive alternatives" and says its stated mission is to "support emerging struggles for racial and gender equality, and for Socialism."

This debate has only escalated with King adding after Lee accused him of making decisions suited to a McCarthyesque era, "I think that if Barbara Lee would read the history of Joe McCarthy, she would realize that he was a hero for America."


Two Questions:

1) Are politicians from other states abusing their power in deciding what a local facility should or should not be named, and...

2) Do you believe McCarthy was a "hero" as King insists?


I can indeed say if King wanted to promote the naming of the Joe McCarthy Public Library in Iowa that I would be shaking my head in how such a polarizing figure could be honored in such a way, but I certainly wouldn't enforce Oregon politics on them and tell them what they can or can not name.

Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa
Not A Poet
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1 posted 09-28-2005 05:10 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Not knowing anything about the particulars of this case, I can't and won't argue either way. There is, however, a big difference between a library and a post office. The post office is a federal facility. That likely gives the federal government, ie. Congress and its individual members, at least some influence as well as duty in the naming as well as the operation of the facility.
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