Trump Takes On A Civil Rights Hero

lewis-nowJohn Robert Lewis is a hero of the Civil Rights Movement. He was one of the original 13 Freedom Riders, served as Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), organized voter registration efforts that led to the pivotal Selma to Montgomery marches, was one of the “Big Six” leaders who organized the March on Washington, coordinated SNCC’s efforts for “Mississippi Freedom Summer,” a campaign to register black voters across the South. He is best known for the role he played on March 7th, 1965, known as “Bloody Sunday”, when he helped lead over 600 marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. At the end of the bridge, they were met by Alabama State Troopers who ordered them to disperse. When the marchers stopped to pray, the police discharged tear gas and mounted troopers charged the demonstrators, beating them with night sticks. Lewis’ skull was fractured.  This, folks, is the man of whom Donald Trump said:

“Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk — no action or results. Sad!”

When I read this, my jaw dropped, I felt a flow of blood rush into my head, and I didn’t know whether to scream or cry.  In the end, I stomped my foot, cussed a blue streak and sat down to write this post.

Representative John Lewis has performed more action, done more good for the cause of civil rights, supported more humanitarian causes in one decade than Trump ever has or ever will in his lifetime.  I am not alone in my outrage.

“Definition of bad strategy: trump saying 50 year fighter for civil rights John Lewis is “all talk” over Martin Luther King holiday weekend.” – Political analyst Matthew Dowd

“The 5th is hardly the hellhole of Trump’s imagination. Have visited CDC there. Also has GA Tech and Emory. It is sad to run down Atlanta.” – Michael Gerson, Washington Post writer and former senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations

“I disagree with what @repjohnlewis said, but I honor the man he is. Honesty; integrity; courage-these are qualities you just can’t buy.” – David Axelrod, political analyst and author

The fact is that Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District includes parts of wealthy suburbs like Buckhead; the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and the Georgia Institute of Technology. Hardly what I would call horrible and falling apart.

What did Rep. Lewis do to draw the wrath of Don?  He said, “I don’t see this President-elect as a legitimate president. I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong.”  He then said that he does not plan to attend the inauguration next Friday, the first he will miss since he was first elected to Congress in 1987, 30 years ago.

lewis-2While some may disagree with Rep. Lewis’ comment, none can disagree that he has earned the respect of us all many times over.  In addition to his extensive civil rights legacy, he was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1986, and has been re-elected with a minimum of 75% of the vote 14 times, running uncontested in six of those fourteen elections.  John Lewis is one who is definitely not afraid to speak out and stand up for what he believes in.  He has been arrested more than 45 times, most during the civil rights era of the 1960s, but he has also been arrested five times since becoming a Congressman for protests involving Apartheid, the genocide in Darfur, and protesting for immigration reform.  As I said, the man stands by his convictions.

At least four other Congressmen and women plan to boycott the inauguration as well:  Barbara Lee of California, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, Katherine Clark of Massachusetts and Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois.

lewis-trumpTrump showed yet again that no one who crosses him — no matter how revered or respected, as Lewis is among both parties in Congress — will necessarily be spared his ire. Some speculate that fighting with Mr. Lewis distracted attention from a Senate investigation, announced the day before, that will look at possible contacts between Mr. Trump’s campaign team and Russia. In addition, Mr. Trump’s poll numbers have slipped into uncharted depths for an incoming president, with a Gallup poll released on Friday finding that about half of Americans disapprove of Mr. Trump’s transition effort. His approval rating currently stands at 44%, down from 48% one month ago, and in sharp contrast with President Obama’s approval rating of 83% on the week of his inauguration in 2009.  Gallup Poll data

11 thoughts on “Trump Takes On A Civil Rights Hero

  1. Jill, Congressman Lewis is a hero and advocate. His nature is to speak up. On the one hand, we must support the institution of our election process and the peaceful transition of power. I think this is where the criticism has some legitimacy. On the other hand, the verified and now accepted concerns that Russia meddled in our campaign process is unprecedented at this level. When I hear pundits say there is no proof that this meddling affected the outcome, I would counter there is no proof that it didn’t.

    From where this old former Republican and Democrat, now Independent sits, how could someone come to the conclusion by reading on a daily basis from the emails of your opponent’s staff, whereas your emails were unavailable to the press, that this did not affect the outcome. Especially, when the name Clinton when included with the word “email,” conjures up a high negative reaction in the majority of Americans, even if they do not know specifics. The equation is simple: Clinton+email =bad

    And, with all of that said, if FBI director Comey had not made his announcement the Friday before the biggest weekend of early voting, she would have likely still won. Yes, that is my opinion, but I would argue that point with someone who feels otherwise. The poll numbers tightened in several places because of that and the 80% range of possibilities that a good pollster uses, had more of the range in Trump’s side of the coin following Comey’s announcement.


    Liked by 1 person

    • I share your opinion entirely. I wish the inauguration could be postponed until a thorough investigation is completed, but apparently that isn’t possible. And yes, what John Lewis said was not likely the wisest thing he could have said, but I certainly understand and share his sentiment and it has in no way diminished my respect for him.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Jill,
    He is so thinned skin over any slight that he strikes out against the likes of US Rep. John Lewis and Meryl Streep. In the interests of US national security, the IC community has to figure out a way to stop him from tweeting. Can you imagine if he should hear something said that is critical about himself from a foreign official?

    Hugs, Gronda.


      • The thin-skin may be his Waterloo. On “60 Minutes,” Sunday, the President said what we all know, you need a thick skin for this job. This may be oil and water for the new President. . I just hope it will not endanger us, but I expect that it will. The planet is a less safe place because of his win and he is not even President yet.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think he certainly has the potential to put us in the path of extreme danger, but I hope cooler heads can prevent his worst efforts. I just don’t know anymore. I believe in our system of government, the checks and balances, but when I look at what has happened in other ‘democracies’, I am given to understand that those checks and balances are not infallible.


  3. It is the man’s determination to strike out at anyone and anything that opposes him which is most disturbing. And he does so in such a knee-jerk and childish manner. His is an arrested development, to say the least.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. How nice to see some more of the President Elect’s remarks come back to bite him. He seems to give little consideration as to what he says giving him a real case of foot in mouth syndrome yet he does it in an attempt to belittle people who disagree with him and bully them into shutting up. I get the distinct impression that’s not going to work with Rep. Lewis.

    Liked by 1 person

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