Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The first Rainbow Coalition

For decades, Bobby Lee has been the not-so-hidden force behind the solid vote of the working class precincts in Houston. He has helped elect more than two dozen state officials plus three U.S. Congressmen. His brother, El Franco Lee, has been re-elected to the Harris County Commisioners Court for twenty-plus years.

If you want to win elections in Harris County (or in Newton County), you would be smart to talk strategy with Bobby Lee. Several presidential campaigns have asked for Bobby's help. U.S. Senate candidates, too.
Bobby knows his stuff.

I don't fully understand how this humble man gained such insight into the human condition. He knows history and psychology better than most professors. Bobby speaks fondly of his mom and dad, his aunts and uncles. That's part of his strength. And the other parts, he learned on the streets.

When he was 24 years old, Bobby Lee was featured in a gritty documentary about the Black Panthers organizing the poor white Southerners of Chicago. Read that again: Black Panthers, white southerners, Chicago. The first Rainbow Coalition.

The film is called American Revolution 2 by Mike Gray, who later wrote China Syndrome. You can buy the DVD on Amazon for $16 and change.

It is amazing to watch Bobby in the film. He's cool under tremendous pressure and the real threat of police brutality. Chicago was a hot, angry town in August, 1968. Remember the Democratic National Convention and the bleeding, cracked heads.

Fast forward nearly 40 years. Mike Gray is making another documentary. In this one, Bobby is the focus. "The Organizer" is not ready for release, but the trailer is on the CD with American Revolution 2.

It is amazing to watch Bobby in real life.

Bobby is still cool. Still compassionate. Say what? Do you know any other organizers who can be described as compassionate?

This man goes door to door throughout the Fifth Ward and the Third Ward in Houston just helping people. Bringing friendship, food, clothes, anything and everything. He mows yards for seniors.

He won't take money for helping people. But he does come with price.

Bobby Lee expects you to vote.

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