John Robert Lewis is a career politician—he’s been Georgia's 5th congressional district Congressman since 1987—and, while I normally don’t care for career politicians, he is also an American hero, a political activist, a Civil Rights legend and one of the original resistors.
And he’s resisting still.
Lewis got an early start in resistance; while attending Fisk University in Tennessee, he helped organize the “Nashville sit-ins” responsible for the desegregation of lunch counters in that city.
He attended nonviolence workshops and to this day he remains a dedicated adherent to the idea of nonviolence and civil disobedience.
He joined the Freedom Rides—a series of bus trips through the South to protest segregation in interstate bus terminals—sponsored by the Congress of Racial Equality [CORE] and ultimately became a national leader in the struggle for civil rights and respect for human dignity.
He joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee [SNCC] and became one of the Big Six civil rights leaders of that era, and in 1963, he was elected to run the organization.
As chairman of SNCC, he helped organize the March On Washington, and at age 23 was the youngest speaker that day, alongside Martin Luther King.
He coordinated the SNCC's efforts for "Mississippi Freedom Summer," a campaign to register black voters across the South.
But it was March 7, 1965—also known as “Bloody Sunday”—for which Lewis became nationally known.
During the march from Selma to Montgomery, while leading over 600 marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Lewis and the protesters were met by Alabama State Troopers who ordered them to disperse.
When the marchers stopped to pray, the police sprayed them with tear gas and mounted troopers charged at them. One man struck John Lewis with his police baton, fracturing Lewis’ skull; he managed to escape across the bridge, but before he allowed himself to be taken to the hospital, he appeared on television, demanding that President Johnson intervene.
John Lewis bears the physical scars from that day and yet he still fights. He was arrested for civil disobedience forty-five times and yet he continues to fight.
As a congressman from the Deep South, John Lewis is, and has been, one of the most liberal, and outspoken, members of Congress. He’s taken his fight for civil rights of Black Americans and brought it to the fight for civil rights of LGBT Americans.
In the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, on June 22, 2016, House Democrats, led by John Lewis and Massachusetts Representative Katherine Clark, began a sit-in demanding House Speaker Paul Ryan allow a vote on gun-safety legislation.
John Lewis is a hero to anyone, anyone, who has ever felt “less than” and now he’s taken his fight to the incoming President ... on January 13, 2017, appearing on Meet The Press, John Lewis said:
"I don't see the president-elect as a legitimate president. I think the Russians participated in having this man get elected, and they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. I don't plan to attend the inauguration. I think there was a conspiracy on the part of the Russians, and others, that helped him get elected. That's not right. That's not fair. That's not the open, democratic process."
John Lewis’ opinion; something he has a right to share, something he has fought for his entire life. And something that has sent the president-elect into a tizzy.
Donald _____ instantly lashed out at John Lewis for his remarks, saying, er, Tweeting rather:
"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!"
Actually, what’s sad is that the _____ Tweets appeared just two days before the federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King and just two days before _____ was set to visit the African American History Museum—an event he has since canceled.
What is sad is that, while john Lewis was fighting for equality, while he was getting arrested, while he was being brutalized by Alabama state troopers, while he was being arrested forty-five times for civil disobedience, non-violent civil disobedience, Donald _____ was a draft dodger, receiving five deferments from military service, including one for bone spurs though he managed to play both football and golf.
And while John Lewis was serving his country in Congress, Donald _____ was excluding African Americans from his buildings and making money on the backs of the less fortunate.
And this is the man our next president has chosen to attack on Twitter for simply speaking his mind. This man, _____, attacks a man who was endorsed by MLK; this man, _____, who was, himself, endorsed by the KKK.
This man, _____, treats Russian president Vladimir Putin, and Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, with more respect than he gives to a sitting member of the United States Congress and a Civil Rights hero.
And that’s what we’re in for, for as long as the _____ presidency lasts—because I do believe his own party will try to oust him sooner rather than later—but the damage is done. He has created an America where you attack those that disagree with you; you assault the media because they ask a question; you belittle an actress for speaking her mind; you whine about TV shows and Broadway plays.
You change your opinion on every policy upon which you campaigned because the election is over and you won.
You even denigrate those that voted for you.
And that is how many people will act because, as the president goes, so goes much of the country.
And that’s why we need to speak up, to stand up, to resist and refuse to accept this man. Donald _____’s disgraceful treatment of Congressman John Lewis just proves Lewis’ point about an illegitimate president, and we should all follow his example and make sure everyone knows that _____ is, as I call him on Twitter, a #FakePresident.
Turn off the TV when he appears; stay away from his ridiculous rants about SNL and focus on his policies; hold him accountable for what he says and does, and, perhaps more importantly, hold your representatives accountable for letting him say and do those things.
Demand the change, or vote everyone out of office who has stood by and let this carnival barker, this snake oil salesman, this least qualified person in the history of this country to ever be president, change us.
I still shake my head in disbelief over where this country was eight years ago—an economy in shambles, a war for oil still raging, no healthcare, no equality for LGBT Americans—and fear that we are headed backwards. Look how far we’ve come and we are on the verge of turning it all over.
But we can stop this; we can be like John Lewis and stand up to tyranny and injustice and an unqualified reality show star in the White House.
Stand up. Speak up. Resist. Be like John Lewis or end up like _____.