Today is the 6th anniversary of Barbara Lee’s sole “no” vote on the AUMF. I watched her speech again this morning and it still gave me chills. I was in Tennessee at the time of 9/11 and even my wingy relatives who thought she should be shot for her vote had to admit that at the time it took real guts. You can hear her voice shaking when she gives her statement but also hear the stirring sound of conviction. I can’t remember another moment in recent history you could point to in which someone showed such leadeship and courage. Everything around her was pointing her toward the easy out, and nobody would have blamed her if she’d taken it. The only thing she was guaranteed to receive as the result of her vote was right wing vilification, which she most certainly did.

It was, and is, awe inspiring.

In addition to being a fellow Mills College graduate, Barbara is one of three co-chairs of the Progressive Caucus and she is currently circulating a letter to George Bush opposing any funding for Iraq that does not fully bring our troops home. She’s got 78 signers and she is looking for 100 by the end of September, so please contact your congressperson and ask them to co-sign (you can see a list of those who have already signed here).

People want real leadership in the Democratic Party, true conviction, not just vote pandering. Barbara Lee has demonstrated under really tough circumstances that she is a leader of conscience and strength. She deserves our thanks, our respect and our support.