Thinking About “The Squad”

In the past few weeks, there has been a lot of attention paid to the progressive Congresswomen known as “The Squad”, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib. They have had some disagreements with House Majority leader Nancy Pelosi and they’ve become the target of Donald Trump and right wing extremists.

Personally I haven’t really made up my mind yet on what I think of The Squad. They’ve only been in office for 6 months and it’s too early to say whether they will become great progressive legislators. When comparing them to the great progressive legislators in the past, like Ted Kennedy, Bella Abzug, Shirley Chisholm, Paul Wellstone, Ron Dellums, and others, will The Squad be able to combine their roles as spokeswoman for progressive causes with the skills to get meaningful legislation passed that will benefit both their local districts and the nation as a whole? It’s way too early to say.

I admire The Squads outspokenness and ability to focus the media’s attention on things like The Green New Deal, single-payer health insurance, and other progressive issues. Kennedy, Abzug, Chisholm and Wellstone were also combative and outspoken. But these past progressive legislators were also able to convert some of their causes into law. Ted Kennedy was one of the greatest legislators in American history, passing the Ryan White Act, the American With Disabilities Act, the Family Leave Act, the Children’s Health Insurance Act an many others. Bella Abzug passed the Sunshine Law for greater government transparency, coauthored with Shirley Chisholm the Child Development Act, and the Depository Institutions Amendments Act which allowed women to get a credit card without needing the permission of her husband. Shirley Chisholm led the creation of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. Paul Wellstone collaborated with conservative Pete Domenici on the Mental Health Parity Act that prohibited insurance companies from discriminating against people with mental illness.

It may be unfair to compare The Squad with past progressive legislators because the Congress back then was very different. The Republican Party had a sizable group of moderate and liberal Republicans, and even conservative Republicans were willing to collaborate with liberals on areas of common ground. I just hope that The Squad is listening to older progressive legislators like John Lewis, Bernie Sanders and Maxine Waters, and developing relationships across the political spectrum that can help them pass legislation. They could potentially be great progressive legislators.

Here is a video of Bella Abzug and the law that allowed women to get credit cards without needing a man’s permission.

Here is an interview of Shirley Chisholm from Visionary Project where she describes her time in Congress.

About angelolopez

I’ve wanted to be an artist all my life. Since I was a child I’ve drawn on any scrap of paper I could get a hold of. When I went to San Jose State University, I became more exposed to the works of the great fine artists and illustrators. My college paintings were heavily influenced by the humorous illustrations of Peter De Seve, an illustrator for the New Yorker magazine. I also fell under the spell of the great muralists of the 1930s, especially Thomas Hart Benton and Diego Rivera. I graduated with a degree in Illustration. Angelo Lopez has had illustrations published in Tikkun Magazine, the Palo Alto Daily News and Z Magazine. From April 2008 to May 2011, Angelo's cartoons were regularly published in the Tri-City Voice, a weekly newspaper that covers the Fremont, Hayward, Milpitas, Neward, Sunol and Union City areas in California. He did a political webcomic starring his cartoon character Jasper for the progressive blogsite Everyday Citizen. Since December 2011, Angelo does a regular weekly political cartoon for the Philippine News Today, a Filipino American newspaper based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Angelo is a member of the Sunnyvale Art Club, and the Northern California chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. During the 1990s, he was a member of the part-timer workers SEIU unit in the city of Sunnyvale. Angelo won the 2013, 2015 and 2016 and 2018 Sigma Delta Chi award for editorial cartooning for newspapers with a circulation under 100,000. He has also won the 2016 RFK Book and Journalism Award for Editorial Cartoons. Angelo won first prize for the Best of the West contest in 2016 and third prize in 2017. Angelo is married to Lisa Reeber. They enjoy taking walks, watching movies and hanging out with their nieces.
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