Thursday, December 10, 2009

Berkeley-Style Chutzpah

The first time I presented a Chutzpah of the Week award to the Berkeley City Council (for their rather innovative effort to bring to account John Yoo's role in Bush Administration atrocities invoked in the name of its "Global War on Terror"), I described their action as "Kucinich-Style Chutzpah." Now that I am ready to present this same City Council with its second such award, I am beginning to think that I may need to add "Berkeley-style chutzpah" to my lexicon. This time the award concerns their recent initiative in taking a stand on the current Congressional deliberations over health care reform as described in the following Associated Press dispatch:

The Berkeley City Council has a pointed message for Democratic members of the U.S. House who voted to keep federal funds from being used to pay for abortions.

The governing body of this proudly liberal city on Wednesday sent a coat hanger and a letter to each of the 20 lawmakers urging them to reconsider any steps that would limit access to abortions. Abortion rights advocates use coat hangers as a symbol of the gruesome procedures some pregnant women resorted to before Roe v. Wade.

The City Council voted 8-1 to send the hangers, saying it hoped they would "emphasize the importance of this message."

There is nothing like a "pointed" sense of symbolism to enhance the chutzpah of sending a message that is as significant as it is contentious. Whether or not this act has any impact, the Berkeley City Council has earned their second Chutzpah of the Week for conceiving and executing it.

No comments: