(APN) ATLANTA Marcy Winograd was so shocked to see US Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) enable President Bush's illegal wiretapping program, that she decided to run for her seat this November. But now, Winograd's grassroot campaign has been so successful, it has blocked the Democratic Party from pre-endorsing Harman, a six-term Congresswoman.
"I actually made the decision to run after seeing the interview on Meet the Press, when she said she didn't know the law as she sat on the House Intelligence Committee," Winograd, 52, said, in a phone interview with Atlanta Progressive News.
Harman "said she couldn't have spoken up at the time because she didn't have access to a constitutional lawyer and that she would've been breaking the law," Winograd recounted.
Harman said she couldn't even consult with lawyers because even that would've exposed government secrets [about its illegal practices], according to a Meet the Press transcript. "I support the program. I never flinched from that," Harman had said.
"But they were the ones breaking the law!" Winograd said, referring to Bush and his administration.
"If I had been in that position, I'd have said, here's a copy of the Constitutional and the Bill of Rights. You are in violation, and you need to stop this immediately. I certainly would have broken the story. At some point you have to blow the whistle when people are breaking the law, spying on Americans, in violation of the federal wiretapping law," Winograd told Atlanta Progressive News.
"What is the logical extension of the argument that it's wrong to ever under any circumstances reveal classified information? What happens if we live in a police state, and people are disappeared off the street, or people are tortured and we know about it? Who are we serving, are we serving Bush or the people?" Winograd explained.
"It sound farfetched but we have people who've been sitting in prisons right now without charges, sitting there for years," Winograd said.
Winograd also finds suspect Harman's explanation that she didn't understand the FISA law. "She graduated from Harvard Law School. She sat on the Intelligence Committee. If you're familiar with the Constitution, you would question whether wiretapping on Americans is legal. That was her job, to be a watchdog as much as anything."
"Even after the fact, she said it was deplorable that the American people knew," Winograd said.
Winograd is a former manager of Southern California's progressive KPFK radio, a Pacifica station. More recently she has been an English teacher for Los Angeles public schools, at both the middle school and high school levels. She also is a leader with the California chapter of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA).
Winograd had never envisioned she would run for US Congress, she said, but she felt so compelled to do so when she saw Harman betray democratic principles.
Winograd wants to represent "a 30 mile stretch of urban land from the Port of Los Angeles, up through a working class Wilmington, toward the gentrified areas of the beach cities (Redondo Beach), up to the liberal enclave of West L.A. (Venice)," she said. The District is 30% Latino, and includes El Segundo, a contracting area.
"The vast majority of Americans want to see the end to the US occupation of Iraq," Winograd said, referring to recent poll reports. "There's increasing disenchantment. My campaign is to represent that sentiment, and the real concerns of Americans about health care, and the needs of a single-payer system of universal health care."
"People have been asking me for a few years, run Marcy run. I see sometimes some of the most effective politicians are in the grassroots movement. And so I had to make a choice whether I wanted to enter electoral politics," Winograd said.