Ellison: Politicians Shouldn't Try To Lead 'Occupy' Protesters
'The last thing they want is some politician telling them what to do.'
Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison kicked off last week with a call for liberals to follow their political beliefs and support the Occupy Wall Street movement.
"In Washington what I’ve heard from a lot of people is, ‘If the movement turns violent, maybe it will be wise not to be connected to it,’" Ellison told TheUptake on Oct. 16. "Let’s get rid of super-playing safe, cowardly chicken-style, let’s lead with what we believe for a change and say, ‘These people are absolutely right to get out there and express their outrage with these conditions.’"
At the same time, Ellison told the Kansas City Star, it's not the place of prominent liberal politicians to try to lead the protesters.
"This thing is jelling, but it has to have time to do it," Ellison said. "At this point, these (Occupy Wall Street) folks are so distanced from the political system that the last thing they want is some politician telling them what to do. They'll discover it for themselves."
Ellison followed his call for leadership with an attack on a vote by US House Republicans to rewrite environmental regulations on cement plants. House majority leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) alleged that the EPA regulations "stand in the way of investment and growth."
In an email to constituents on Thursday, Ellison called the vote a stalling tactic to "avoid job creation."
"This is as dishonest as it is wrong," Elison wrote. "Environmental protections have been shown to create jobs and protect health. Clean air regulation that Republicans oppose will reduce toxic pollutants produced by cement plants and will prevent 2,500 premature deaths every year. This clean air regulation will also provide up to $19 in public health benefits for every dollar spent on reducing harmful air pollution. This is an investment we should make."
- Over Twitter and in a written statement issued by his office, Ellison said he welcomed the death of Lybian dictator Muamar Qadaffi. "The death of Moammar Gadhafi marks the end of an era of repression and tyranny for the Libyan people," Ellison wrote. "While we do not celebrate the death of anyone, we do feel relieved that the people of Libya no longer have to live under a violent dictator. "
- Gary Boisclair, a conservative anti-abortion DFLer, said he will challenge Ellison in the 2012 election. Boisclair has also criticized Ellison for taking the oath of office on a Koran, alleging the holy book of Islam "mandates violence against Jews and Christians."