I’m not proud. And I’m not macho, I’m a strapping Irish lad who’s ready for whatever comes at him, have been all of my life. And I’m not ashamed to say that today US House Representative John Lewis reduced me to tears.
The memorial for John Lewis in the rotunda of the Capitol today was a thing of beauty. I didn’t catch all of it, but I caught most of it. The parade of congressional dignitaries lining up to share their fond remembrances of Lewis was heartwarming. As was the music selection. Everything was perfect.
But it was Speaker Nancy Pelosi,who engineered the memorial, who once again showed her depth of perception of what mattered. At the end of her remarks, she turned the microphone over to the only person who could tie everything together, Representative John Lewis himself.
Lewis spoke of his early life as a boy from Troy, and of his confusion and discomfort with the sight of white and colored bathrooms, of white and colored lunch counters. And he recalled how he was told that it was just the way things were. Don’t get in the way. Don’t get in trouble.
Instead, John Lewis decided to get into the way, to get into trouble, good trouble as he put it. He nearly lost his life at the far end of the Edmond Pettis bridge on bloody Sunday, his skull fractured by a racist white cop with a baton. And when he recovered, he went right back out, picked up the baton, and soldiered on. And I asked myself, if that had happened top me, if I had come within a hairs breadth of death, would I have the personal and moral fortitude to go back out there and do it again. Sweet Jesus, I don’t know. But I’d put the odds at no better than 50-50.
But when I listened to Lewis’s words at that long ago commencement speech, I was transfixed. Not by the words, but by the conviction. When Lewis said that We all live in the same house, Black and white, Asian and Hispanic, gay and straight, And we must all find a way to live together in the same house, in peace and harmony. That was the voice of the true believer the man who was ready and willing to shed his own blood over and over again, to ensure that we reached that precious place. Simply because there will be nobody left to remind us of our better, truer angels.
And I grieved. I grieved because we are quickly running out of leaders to pick up the torch that John Lewis has sadly laid down, and carry it into the future. But I still believe. I still believe that out there is a new generation of American political leaders willing to take up the torch, and move the ball down field. I I believe because it is simply too painful not to believe. John Lewis’s legacy is in our hands, to do with what we will.
To know the future, look to the past.before the insanity of the 2020 election, relive the insanity of the 2016 GOP primary campaign, and the general election, to see how we got to where we are. Copies of President Evil, and the sequel, President Evil II, A Clodwork Orange are available as e-books on Amazon, at the links above. Catch up before the upcoming release of the third book in the trilogy, President Evil III: All The Presidents Fen
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