Tag Archives: John Lewis

This is what one could call a ‘toxic’ relationship

So … just how toxic is the relationship between Donald Trump and the nation’s civil rights leadership?

Get a load of this: U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., arguably the greatest living leader of the civil rights movement, plans to boycott the opening of a civil rights museum in Mississippi because the president of the United States will be there.

The ceremony will occur Saturday.

I am torn on this one. Lewis’s statement talks about the inflammatory rhetoric the president has uttered since taking office. He has taken extreme offense at Trump’s statements about race relations, not to mention his terrible initial response to the Charlottesville, Va., riot spawned by the presence of white supremacists, Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen.

The president’s participation in the museum dedication, though, is noteworthy. If only he hadn’t built up a disgraceful record of clumsy statements that many have interpreted as being overtly racist.

That’s the kind of history, according to Rep. Lewis, that the president cannot erase with a simple public appearance.

Trump continues scorched-Earth rhetorical policy

We’ve been wondering around our house for, oh, the entire length of the election season and now as the new president gets ready to take office.

It is this: Is Donald J. Trump seeking to undermine his presidency the way he seemed to inflict damage on his candidacy?

You’ll recall the campaign. He offended Hispanics right off the bat; he denigrated Sen. John McCain’s record as a Vietnam War hero; he criticized a Gold Star couple; he mocked a disabled New York Times reporter; he admitted to Billy Bush that he’d groped women by grabbing them in their private parts.

None of that mattered. Trump won the election, despite his seemingly deliberate effort to torpedo himself.

Now he’s getting ready for the inauguration. What does he do?

He continues to disparage intelligence professionals who insist that Russian spooks launched a cyberwar to influence the election; he keeps tweeting idiotic messages in response to criticisms great and small; he declares war on the media; he declines to say he trusts German Chancellor Angela Merkel more than he trusts Russian President Vladimir Putin; he fires back at a legendary member of Congress, John Lewis, who questioned Trump’s legitimacy as president, saying Lewis is “all talk, no action”; he accuses CIA Director John Brennan of possibly leaking classified information about alleged Russian hacking.

Sheesh, man!

What’s this guy doing?

He’s got to work with the intelligence pros beginning the moment he takes his hand off the Bible on Friday, shakes the hand of Chief Justice John Roberts and becomes president. How in the world does he work with the dedicated intelligence staffers who will remain after John Brennan leaves to make way for Trump’s pick to be CIA director?

How is he going to work with African-Americans after labeling Lewis — Congress’ most venerated member and a champion of civil and voting rights marches — be an “all talk” kind of individual?

And how is this individual going to assure staunch and trusted allies, such as Chancellor Merkel, that he trusts her implicitly and really and truly doesn’t equate her trust level with that of the former head of the KGB in Moscow?

Let’s all get ready, dear reader, for the roughest ride imaginable.

MLK Jr.’s greatest speech still resonates

I thought I’d share this video shot in August 1963.

You see, today Americans are celebrating the birth of the man who gave this speech, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He spoke of his “dream” of equality and a day when a “man’s character” mattered more than the “color of his skin.”

Dr. King would die a violent death less than five years later. Today, though, we mark his birth and we salute the man who led a movement to bring equal rights for all Americans. He fought peacefully for civil rights and for voting rights.

I should add that somewhere on the podium where Dr. King delivered the speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., is a young man named John Lewis.

This young man would go on to become a member of Congress. On that day, he was the youngest among King’s closest lieutenants to stand with him that sweltering day in the nation’s capital. Rep. Lewis has been in the news of late, as Donald J. Trump said he was “all talk … no action.” Well, the president-elect is quite wrong about that.

I also want to point out that the highlight of this stirring speech wasn’t written. Dr. King improvised the “I have a dream … ” riff that has become a legendary chapter in the annals of American oratory.

Enjoy … and happy birthday, Dr. King.

That’s not the point, Sen. Paul

Sen. Rand Paul has missed the point — by a mile! — over the brewing controversy surrounding one of his congressional colleague’s criticism of the president-elect of the United States.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis said he doesn’t consider Donald Trump to be a “legitimate president.” Why? It’s the Russian hacking stuff, according to Lewis, who said allegations of hacking by the Russians to swing the election in Trump’s favor had “destroyed” Hillary Rodham Clinton’s own presidential candidacy.

It got even better. Then came Trump’s response, via Twitter, in which he said Lewis is “all talk, talk, talk. No action. Sad!”

Anyone with an inkling of knowledge of U.S. history would know that John Lewis is a legendary figure in the civil rights movement who was beating to a bloody pulp by police squads while he demonstrated for the cause of voting and civil rights for all Americans.

He is a man of profound action. Trump should know that and he should not have responded in that hideous manner.

Now we get Rand Paul, R-Ky., weighing in, saying that Lewis’s status as a civil rights icon doesn’t make him “immune from criticism.”

Good bleeping grief, senator!

No one said he is immune! I’ve criticized him in this forum for his “not legitimate” comment about Trump’s presidency.

Hold on, Rep. Lewis!

Rep. Lewis ought to be immune, however, from idiotic tweets that suggest that he’s “all talk and no action.”


What’s more, the timing of Trump’s tweet — on this weekend in which we honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with whom Lewis stood during those bloody, violent days — is yet another point of contention.

Those issues, Sen. Paul, are at the crux of the criticism that has been fired back at the president-elect.

Donald Trump: master of impeccable timing

I’ll admit that the irony of this got past me initially.

Then I read a piece from the Los Angeles Times: Donald Trump’s idiotic tweet about U.S. Rep./civil rights legend John Lewis is rife with irony because of its timing.

We’re entering the weekend in which we’re going to celebrate the birth of the great Martin Luther King Jr. — with whom Rep. Lewis marched during the height of the civil rights movement. Trump took the opportunity on this, of all weekends, to ridicule John Lewis as an “all talk, no action” kind of guy.


Lewis, in remarks to be broadcast Sunday, said he doesn’t consider Trump to be a “legitimate president.” He is deeply concerned about alleged Russian influence on the 2016 presidential election. I share his concern, but I do not consider Trump’s presidency to be illegitimate.

Still, Trump’s moronic response illustrates the utter tone deafness of the president-elect — who built his political career by perpetuating the myth that sought to delegitimize Barack Obama’s presidency by alleging he was born in a foreign land and, thus, was unable to serve as the nation’s first African-American president.

As the LA Times’ Cathleen Decker writes: “John Lewis is an icon of the civil rights movement who is fearless in the pursuit of justice and equality,” said Sen. Kamala Harris, the California Democrat. “He deserves better than this.”

Rep. Lewis still stands tall

Petulant POTUS-elect fires back at iconic lawmaker

I’ve already declared that I believe U.S. Rep. John Lewis’s declaration that Donald Trump is “not a legitimate president” went too far, that Trump is — in my view — legitimate.

So … what does Trump do? He responds to Lewis — perhaps the most legendary member of Congress — with a couple of tweets.

“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!” Trump wrote in two tweets Saturday morning.

I want to repeat the ending: “All talk, talk, talk — no action or results. Sad!”

Good ever-lovin’ grief, man!

Given that the president-elect seems to know nothing about our history and the role that many brave men and women played in shaping it, I feel compelled to remind everyone that of all of Trump’s critics, John Lewis has more than earned his right to speak out.


He stood with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He marched with him across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. He faced down racists, was beaten to within an inch of his life — on more than one occasion — while speaking out for the cause of equality for all Americans. He participated in boycotts, protests, marches, demonstrations.

For the president-elect — a man with zero public service experience — to denigrate a critic as renowned and beloved as Rep. Lewis is to yet again demonstrate his utter and absolute ignorance of an iconic figure’s stature.

Hold on, Rep. Lewis!

I have great respect and admiration for John Lewis, one of the most iconic members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

This brave and gallant man who was nearly beaten to death during the civil-rights marches of the 1960s, has not only survived, but he has become one of the great voices of Congress.

But he is getting way ahead of himself when he calls Donald J. Trump an “illegitimate” president.

Why is that? Rep. Lewis is concerned about the Russian involvement in our electoral process and allegations that Russian geeks/spooks sought to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election — in Trump’s favor.


Let’s hold on, sir!

I happen to share your distaste of Trump as a president. Believe me, I preferred the other major-party candidate over the Republican nominee. I also am concerned about the Russian involvement as confirmed by U.S. intelligence agencies.

However, nothing at all has been established about whether Russian hackers had any tangible impact on the outcome of the election. No one has proved that Russians tilted significant numbers of Americans to vote for Trump over Clinton.

I’ve never been prone to question the “legitimacy” of presidents elected in a controversial manner. I never once, not for a second, questioned President George W. Bush’s election in 2000 — even with the Supreme Court ruling and the fact that he got fewer popular votes than Al Gore. The U.S. Constitution worked as it was supposed to work in that election and Bush’s presidency was granted its legitimacy at that time.

Donald Trump won more Electoral College votes than Hillary Clinton. He, too, is a “legitimate” president-elect by virtue of collecting enough of the votes that count to be elected.

Unless someone can determine beyond a doubt that Russians — or some mysterious unknown intervener — actually had a tangible impact on the 2016 presidential election, then calling Trump’s presidency “illegitimate” is a major step too far.

Do I wish the outcome had been different? Absolutely! It wasn’t. Too bad for those of us who voted for someone else. I’m going to wait to see how this Russian-hacking probe plays out.

Sit-in reminds us of the old days


Democrats are still protesting on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Republicans, meanwhile, have recessed the chamber and have gone home for the next couple of weeks.

What happens now?

I’ve managed to take away a few thoughts from this extraordinary event.

First, we’ve never seen anything like it in Congress, so we have nothing with which to compare it. Democrats decided to put their collective feet down and demand a vote on gun legislation.

They are led by one of the more iconic figures of this country’s civil-rights movement, U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, who knows a thing or three about sit-ins, civil disobedience and seeking redress of his grievances against the government.

He also knows a thing or three about getting beaten to within an inch of his life by ham-handed cops intent on putting down these protests.

It’s good that nothing like that has happened on the floor of the House. In some government chambers, such a dispute might result in fists and furniture flying. Have you ever seen how, for example, it has gone in Taipei, where the Taiwanese parliament meets?

Also, House Speaker Paul Ryan shouldn’t have shut down the House while the demonstration was occurring. He ordered the cameras turned off, creating a situation where someone on the House floor violated the rules of the body by photographing the protest through ill-gotten means.

It has prompted some in the media to wonder what might be frightening to the speaker, forcing him to seek to silence the debate. Check this out from the Boston Globe:


Lewis and his fellow demonstrators want a vote on whether to enact gun legislation in the wake of the Orlando, Fla., slaughter of 49 people.

They are demanding a vote! Up or down!

House Republicans — failing to follow the lead of their Senate brethren — are refusing to allow a vote.

From where I sit, the seriously outnumbered Democratic congressional minority is making a reasonable request.

Let’s get that vote — and then carry the debate over gun legislation forward!

Rep. Lewis still stands tall

If I had to cast a vote for the nation’s pre-eminent civil rights icon, it would have to be — without question — a gentleman from Georgia, U.S. Rep. John Lewis.

This great man spoke over the weekend at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. He was among a large crowd of Americans marking the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, when marchers were attacked at that bridge by Alabama police officers.

Rep. Lewis was one of them. He was beaten within an inch of his life by policemen with clubs.

He was part of what was supposed to be a non-violent march in search of voting rights for all Americans, notably African-Americans.

Lewis spoke today, 50 years after that event, and presented himself as just one man who sought to bring justice for his fellow Americans.

He’s such a towering figure today that he totally belies his relatively short physical stature.

Lewis is the last known survivor of those who stood on the podium behind Martin Luther King Jr. during Rev. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. He was at the forefront — even at such a young age — of non-violent protest marches.

He was beaten, but never defeated. And then, when it came time for him to seek public office, he launched his effort to win election to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he would help write the laws that affect all Americans.

I was proud for Rep. Lewis that he was able today to speak loudly and forcefully from the bridge where 50 years ago he was bloodied. This great man demonstrated the immense power of one’s principle and conviction.

There can be no greater testament to the cause for which this courageous man fought and bled.