Michelle Wu has been taking some heat for her decision to support Bill Linehan to lead the Boston City Council. Linehan is not a favorite in progressive circles, but that’s exactly why I think Michelle made the right decision. Now, Wu, one of Boston’s most promising progressive leaders has made herself an indispensable part of the next council president’s team and positioned herself to be a clear voice for our values.
As much as it pains me to say it, progressives don’t rule the world. In fact, there are many people in Boston who do not consider themselves progressives. It’s true, you can look it up. Sometimes we have to work with other people.
The wrangling for votes for city council president largely happens behind closed doors. It’s hard to know what happened for sure, but it’s unlikely that Wu’s vote was the deciding one. There are thirteen councilors, but since Charles Yancey usually votes for himself there are only 12 votes in play. According to press reports, there were two candidates vying for support from the more progressive, younger wing of the council with Linehan claiming sole ownership of the bloc of old guard councilors. It’s not hard to imagine a scenario where Wu’s vote would have been useless to the two young councilors and incredibly valuable to Linehan.
Aside from the political calculation, Michelle has shown that she’s going to do exactly what she said she would during her campaign. In many ways, Boston is a divided city and the only way to overcome divisiveness is through inclusion. Instead of fighting to isolate and take power away from those with whom she disagrees, Michelle has chosen to work with the other side, hoping they can learn a little from her and she can learn a little from them. I think that’s admirable and speaks to a quality that is sometimes lacking in politicians.
So, my fellow progressives, let’s give Michelle Wu some slack here. Bill Linehan’s not going to undo marriage equality while Mayor Walsh is away for the weekend.