No one can take away from John Lewis his fight for civil rights, nor the personal cost he paid for racial equality. However, past virtues never excuse nor justify present vices. One’s past accolades do no provide permission slips for the perpetration of present atrocities. As Joel Pollack wrote back in 2017, John Lewis was a famous civil rights hero who unfortunately turned into a political hack.
John McCain, the 31st person to lie in state at the US Capital Rotunda, went to his grave refusing to forgive John Lewis, the first Black lawmaker to lie in state at the US Capital Rotunda. During the 2008 presidential election, John Lewis accused John McCain, who was running against Barack Obama, of not only “sowing the seeds of hatred and division,” but also for creating a climate for racial terrorism not unlike that created in 1963 when four little black girls were killed in Alabama on a Sunday morning in the bombing of a Birmingham church.
In 2010, John Lewis, along with several other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, accused a crowd of Tea Party protesters on the Capital steps of shouted the “N-word” at him and his colleagues. However, when Andrew Breitbart offered to donate $100,000 to the United Negro College Fund for any video evidence proving Lewis’ allegation, none was provided, despite the fact that hundreds of cameras were present at the time.
In a speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, Lewis accused Republicans of wanting to return America to Jim Crow Laws, as well as to the bloodshed and hatred he experienced when beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge back in 1965.
When it comes to Donald Trump, Lewis’s incendiary rhetoric reached fever pitch. He not only joined the chorus of his fellow Democrats in calling Trump an “illegitimate” president, upon the false accusation that Trump had colluded with the Russians to get elected to the White House, but he also compared Trump to governors in the Jim Crow South who let dogs loose on demonstrators. Of course, Lewis, who had fought for the voices and votes of African Americans, showed his total disrespect and absolute disdain for the voices and votes of more than 62 million Americans when he led the congressional boycott of the Inauguration of the American people’s duly elected president on January 20, 2017. Since that time, until the time of his death, Lewis refused to attend President Trump’s State of the Union Addresses, which not only showed his contempt for our nation’s Commander-In-Chief, but also for Trump championing conservative Americans.
The next time you hear a media propagandist like Jonathan Swan trying to paint Trump into the corner of a shrine to someone like John Lewis, I hope you’ll realize, as so few Americans do, that such a thing is not a simple matter of black and white. It’s not a matter of either bowing or bigotry. It’s much more complicated than that.