"I was beaten bloody by police officers. But I never hated them. I said, 'Thank you for your service.' "
Congressman John Lewis
I certainly hope that the phrase "civil rights icon" is soon retired once and for all. This flowery moniker has become the property of Georgia congressman John Lewis. Lewis was among the young people who fought against America's apartheid in the jim crow south in the early 1960s. He did risk his safety and his very life on the freedom rides and when he was beaten by police while crossing the Edmund Pettus bridge in the march from Selma to Montgomery. He spoke at the 1963 March on Washington and was the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
His bonafides are solid but do they give him a lifetime dispensation from critique? I answered in the negative in my Black Agenda Report column, No Tears for John Lewis. Lewis has been a congressman for nearly 30 years and he is little more than a democratic party hack. Like the rest of the Congressional Black Caucus he belittled and lied about Bernie Sanders in the effort to defeat him and make Hillary Clinton the democratic party nominee. He dismissed Sanders history in the movement and he sneered at his signature plan to make college education free and end the toll of student indebtedness.
Of course anyone called an icon can get away with uttering nonsense. Lewis has joined the rest of the black misleaders in claiming that the Russian government interfered with the presidential election. Lewis said that this unproven assertion alone rendered Donald Trump illegitimate as president. Mind you he didn't say that losing the popular vote made him illegitimate. Instead the democratic party trope and excuse for ignominious failure makes the case for legitimacy.
Trump was too stupid to leave the comment alone or to be gracious. He lashed out at Lewis in typical Trumpian style and claimed the congressman's district was "crime infested." The liberal hand wringers had a field day turning the mediocre representative into a perpetual hero. It was all to much for me and so I had to write about it. And then of course I talked to Don DeBar about it on CPR News and we had a great conversation as we do every week.
It will be a long four years if every target of a Trump tweet is elevated to sainthood.