Commentary: What Other Politicians Can Learn From Cory Booker

The Newark mayor is making headlines again with his good deeds. Here’s what it looks like when your politicians actually care about you.

Posted: 04/13/2012 06:29 PM EDT

Newark Mayor Cory Booker speaks to the media outside a burned house in Newark, N.J. Booker said on Friday he was no superhero, only a good neighbor when he broke free from his security detail to dash into a burning house and rescue a woman. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz


We’ve discussed here before the shame America should feel at its lack of proper Black representation in the halls of Congress. Indeed, that’s a problem that needs to be addressed, and soon. Nevertheless, while finding fault is important for progress, so too is acknowledging when things are going well. And as far as Black politicians go, in Newark things are going well.

If you didn’t know who Cory Booker was before — and that would be a tragedy —you’ve probably heard of him by today. Last night, Booker, the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, ran into a burning building with his security detail in tow in order to rescue a stranded woman. Booker emerged from the building a little scathed, and he was rushed to the hospital to receive treatment for smoke inhalation, but the woman survived. Doctors even said Booker might have saved her life.


Booker’s act of bravery in the face of conflagration is just the latest step in his long line of heroic deeds. When snowstorms buried Newark in 2010, Booker took to the streets himself to shovel out people’s cars and homes. In fact, Booker has made it a serious goal of his, as evidenced in this speech, to literally get into his community and bring about actual change. You don’t see that from many politicians, and you certainly don’t see that from many politicians representing places as poverty stricken and crime ridden as Newark.


Perhaps the greatest thing about Booker’s good deeds is that they’re impartial. Booker, who is a Democrat, is an amazing politician not necessarily because of his policies, but because he puts his constituents first. Unfortunately, that’s a rarity in today’s world, where Republicans and Democrats constantly trade barbs and seem to be more about competing with one another than solving our nation’s problems. That Booker seems to be about action rather than complaining about his enemies is something you have to respect, regardless of your party.



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