John Lewis Went There. And I’m With Him.

JoImage result for john lewis on meet the presshn Lewis, civil rights icon and congressman from Georgia, took a beating as part of the non-violent Freedom Rides in 1961. He had his skull fractured by white Alabama state troopers—government agents—in 1965, after he crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge as part of a voting rights march from Selma, Alabama.

Today he said of Trump:

I don’t see the President-elect as a legitimate president.

John Lewis has earned the right to speak the truth, even if a lot of people don’t want to hear it.

And I’m with John Lewis.

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4 Comments

  1. Duane, I couldn’t agree more. But it makes me wonder if Jason Chaffetz will demand an apology from Lewis for speaking the truth or be censored.

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    • If it weren’t for all the other news going on, what Jason Chaffetz did, essentially trying to intimidate the director of the Office of Government Ethics–whose job is not partisan, by the way–would be a national scandal. I suppose nothing better illustrates how deviance has been defined so low that Chaffetz’s threat has passed away as if it wasn’t that big of a deal. It is absolutely scandalous, but not in this new Trump world. Republicans have, twice now, made war on ethics. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

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  2. ct55

     /  January 16, 2017

    This is one instance where I’ll demur.
    My opinion of John Lewis as an entrenched old-line Democrat mired in the mindset of the 60’s was confirmed when he did a full-throated endorsement of Hillary and actively campaigned (in much the same way S.C’s Jim Clyburn actively worked) against Bernie Sanders.

    These old inside-the-beltway DNC Democrats have adopted the DLC culture and personnel and have become anachronisms of what the party needs in the face of a wildly irresponsible “loyal opposition” party.

    Lewis fought against Sanders, did everything he could to thwart him in GA and FL and I hold him — and the entire cadre of Establishment Types like Podesta and Wasserman-Schultz and Brazille — responsible for the mess happening on Friday.

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    • Thanks for your response. We will have to just disagree. Blaming the Democratic establishment for the election of Trump is misguided to say the least.

      Lewis had known the Clintons since the 70s. Naturally, and especially after he ditched Hillary in 2008 (after saying he would support her), he felt obligated to support her candidacy this time. He did clarify his seemingly disparaging remarks about Bernie and his involvement in the civil rights movement, saying essentially he didn’t mean to discount his involvement. Other than that, I don’t know what he actively did against Sanders, unless you simply mean he campaigned for Hillary Clinton.

      Before I get to Sanders’ behavior itself, though, I want to challenge something you said about Lewis and other “DNC Democrats” you disparage. I mentioned how Lewis had changed his mind in 2008, in favor of Obama. Doing so Lewis said,

      I think the candidacy of Senator Obama represents the beginning of a new movement in American political history that began in the hearts and minds of the people of this nation. And I want to be on the side of the people.

      “New movement.” Those are hardly the words of a man stuck in the rut of establishment politics.

      As for Jim Clyburn, you probably know that in 2008 he pissed off the Clintons, particularly Bill, because they blamed him for her poor showing in South Carolina. Clyburn defended himself rather aggressively against Bill’s criticism, and eventually Clyburn went on to support Obama in June of that year. It took a while before Clyburn and the Clinton’s reconciled.

      My point is this: Clyburn, and Lewis especially, in 2008 went against the party establishment and supported Barack Obama (Clyburn was quiet about it at first). They did so knowing they would take no small amount of criticism. Supporting a young black guy, with a thin résumé and a funny name, is hardly an example of being “mired in the mindset of the 60s.” And as far as the DLC culture itself, if you recall, that culture embraced Obama, too, after it became clear he won the most delegates, despite not winning more votes. Again, hardly an anachronistic “culture”and hardly stacked against the newcomer.

      In any case, I want to raise my own objection about Sanders. If you want to mete out responsibility for the election of Trump, I know a lot of people, me included, who hold Bernie partially responsible for the defection of some voters, particularly young voters, who would have naturally leaned in Hillary’s direction. During the primary, he endorsed the right-wing narrative against Clinton, that she was corrupt and in the pockets of the big banks, etc. I discussed at the time how much that was hurting her and had a hard time convincing Bernie people that it was so. All some of them wanted to talk about was the “corrupt” DNC establishment, and so on. They refused to see that actual voters, millions of them, rejected Bernie’s message in favor of Hillary’s. There was no “fix” in. It was the will of a large majority of Democratic voters that made her the nominee, not some action by an admittedly deficient Wasserman-Schultz or other officials in the party.

      I also hold Bernie responsible for holding on too long, when it was totally obvious he could not win the nomination. He did this during the rise of Trump, who everyone on our side could see was a dangerous demagogue. The truth is that Bernie was never a Democrat and should not have expected the support of people in the party who had been with it through lean and difficult times. He should have expected some headwinds. His reaction to those headwinds is what pissed off a lot of us on this side, fearing that wounding Clinton so badly, as Bernie did, would end up helping Trump. It did. And Trump often quoted Bernie Sanders and courted his disgruntled followers.

      The truth of all this is that Bernie Sanders did not enjoy popular support among African-Americans. He had a hard time talking to them, probably because he never had to do so in Vermont. His message wasn’t that far removed from Clinton’s, but his relationship with the black community was. The Clintons spent years cultivating those relationships. Bernie was in Vermont trashing a lot of Democrats there and trashing the party generally. It is no surprise that when he attempted to use the party as a vehicle for his national agenda, he ran into some opposition.

      Having said all that, I am glad Bernie came to his senses and began to support the Democratic Party’s choice for president. The same with Michael Moore—whose rhetoric against Clinton early on also damaged her—who pleaded with former Bernie supporters not to waste their vote in protest of the Democratic “establishment.” Well, many did, as the results in the Rust Belt demonstrate. And now there is evidence that Jill Stein, among others, was aided and abetted by the Russians, the same way Trump was.

      Here’s the deal: we can argue all day about this or that particular failing of the Democratic Party. But the “establishment” is necessary to keep things running, just as new blood is necessary to keep the party current and relevant. We need both elements, the experienced hands and the exuberant rookies, to have a vibrant, successful party. Too many people on our side failed to understand that reality this time, and too many ignored the absolute danger of a Trump presidency. They flirted with disaster by either staying home, voting third party, or, worst of all, voting for Trump.

      Now, we all have to get together and be part of the resistance. And there is no vehicle available for that fight other than the Democratic Party. You can throw rocks at it, you can disparage it, you can abandon it. But in the end, it is all there is to fight Trump and Trumpism.

      Duane

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