John Lewis

New Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Besmirched By Presence Of Donald Trump, And Absence, Therefore, Of John Lewis, Civil Rights Icon

Today, in Jackson, Mississippi, a new Civil Rights Museum opens, to commemorate the sufferings of African Americans in the history of Mississippi discrimination and violence.

Mississippi is the state of the lynching of Emmett Till in 1955; of James Meredith needing National Guard intervention ordered by President John F. Kennedy in 1962-1963 to be able, safely, to attend the University of Mississippi; and of the three civil rights workers (Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, James Chaney) murdered in 1964 by Ku Klux Klansmen, simply for the act of trying to register black voters. Also, the murder of Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers in 1963 stands out as a deplorable moment in Mississippi history.

It is the state which has the worst image of all 50 states on racism, bloodshed, and violence in the Civil Rights Era, but also of its members of Congress historically, including Theodore Bilbo, John Stennis, and James Eastland, and Governor Ross Barnett, infamous for racism and advocating prejudice and denial of equal rights to African Americans.

The opening of this new museum is a wonderful event, but is besmirched by the presence of President Donald Trump, who has a long history of promoting discrimination, racism, prejudice, and hatred in his own life experience, and his promotion of setting back civil rights during his Presidency, including his appointment of former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to be his Attorney General, and setting back civil rights enforcement as a policy.

Just as Donald Trump is advocating Roy Moore for the Alabama Senate seat, with his long record of racism, along with the record of Moore involved in sexual abuse of young women, including girls under the age of 18, now he is coming to an event which is pure hypocrisy on his part, and only promotes racial division ever more.

Therefore, civil rights icon John Lewis, Georgia Congressman, who was involved in the major events of the civil rights movement, and is much respected and honored by all decent people, will not be attending the opening of this museum on principle, a regrettable but understandable reaction by this great man.

“Illegitimate” Presidents From JQ Adams To Donald Trump

The question of “illegitimate” Presidents is nothing new in American history.

Any President who has failed to win the popular vote (5), and any President who has failed to win a majority of the total popular vote (11 with 3 two times), due to more than two candidates in the race, has been seen by opponents as “illegitimate”

So we have John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, George W. Bush the first time, and Donald Trump that fit into the first category mentioned above.

We also have James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, Grover Cleveland twice, Woodrow Wilson twice, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon the first time, and Bill Clinton twice, who fit into the second category mentioned above.

So 19 times out of a total of 58 national elections for President, or one third of the time, we have had Presidents who did not have a majority of the voters behind them!

And 16 Presidents out of 44, nearly 40 percent, have not won the majority of the popular vote!

And then we have Barack Obama, who won a majority of the popular vote twice, but has had constant attacks that he is “illegitimate” based on a “Birther” theory that he was not born in the United States.

This issue of “illegitimacy” is rampant right now regarding Donald Trump, because he lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million, much larger than the other four popular vote losers who won the Electoral College, and civil rights icon John Lewis, Georgia Congressman, has said, rightfully, that he sees Trump as “illegitimate” and will not attend Trump’s inauguration next Friday.

Since Trump led those who said Barack Obama was “illegitimate”, appropriate that John Lewis take the stand he has, and there is an old saying” “What is good for the goose is good for the gander”, and also “What goes around comes around”!

Turnout And Federal Oversight In States With Voting Restrictions The Key To Democratic Victory In November

The biggest obstacle to a Hillary Clinton victory in November is insuring high turnout by African Americans, Latino and Hispanic Americans, young women, college educated men and women, and millennials.

An election requires motivation by voters to come out and vote, and get their friends and family to do so, as well.

Hillary lacks the excitement of Barack Obama, and the charisma of her husband, Bill Clinton, but she is far better qualified than either of them to be President.

So she must work to get people to vote for her as the most equipped of the four candidates—herself, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein– to be our 45th President.

Additionally, Georgia Congressman John Lewis has called for federal oversight to insure that states that have attempted to promote voter restrictions are prevented from denying people their right to vote, as that could dramatically affect voter turnout as well.

Turnout and federal oversight in states with voting restrictions are crucial, as we cannot allow Donald Trump to become our President, as that would be a never ending nightmare!

Revolutionary Moment In History Of House Of Representatives, Unmatched Since 1910 “Revolt” Against Speaker Joseph Cannon!

A century ago, in October 1910, Democrats and progressive Republicans united to state a “coup” in the House of Representatives, stripping Speaker of the House Joseph Cannon of his absolute power to decide committee appointments and control the legislative agenda all by himself.

Now in June 2016, the Democrats have staged a one day sit down, demanding a vote on a gun control measure. They proceeded to prevent normal routine in the House of Representatives, and to shout down any attempt at taking action on other legislative business.

While Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was befuddled, and waited until 10pm to attempt normal legislative business, which failed, and led to the end of the official session until after the 4th of July recess, the Democrats have drawn attention to the issue of gun regulation, and it is clear they will defy Ryan again when the House of Representatives comes back into session next month.

The effect will be to put the Republicans on notice, that it is time that they stopped being captives of the National Rifle Association and Wayne La Pierre. The issue will be a major one in November, and hopefully, might cause a massive switch of seats, putting the Democrats into the majority again, although that is still highly difficult to do, as 30 or more seats would need to be gained.

But taking action, led by the icon civil rights leader Congressman John Lewis of Georgia is better than just doing nothing! Hope springs eternal!

Georgia Congressman John Lewis, “Selma” Film, And The Effect Of The Voting Rights Act of 1965: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama!

The new documentary, SELMA, about the March from Selma to Montgomery in March 1965, leading to “Bloody Sunday”, where state troopers and snipers fired on peaceful marchers demanding their right to vote, reminds us of a transitional stage in American history, when African Americans would regain the right to vote given to them in the 15th Amendment in 1870, and then denied in the South for about 75 years!

Alabama Governor George Wallace represented the worst of Southern racism, and Georgia Congressman John Lewis, a true hero then and now, had his head beaten and bloodied n the Selma March, but the horrible event led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965!

It is tragic that the Supreme Court allowed a reversion in enforcement of the Voting Rights Act two years ago, and that has led to new movements, and not only in the South, to make it harder for African Americans, Latinos, women, poor people, and college students to vote, and that could affect the Midterm elections of 2014!

But Lewis made the comment which is so TRUE: If it had not been for Voting Rights Act coming out of the Selma March, there likely would NEVER have been an open minded progressive Presidency of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama!

That would have been a tremendous tragedy, as no Republican President , whether Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, or George W. Bush, made civil rights enforcement a key goal of their times in the Presidency!

So thank goodness for the fortune that the sacrifices of the Selma Marchers brought us the great progress  we gained under Carter, Clinton, and now Obama!

The “New” South Vs. The “Old” South

The American South has undergone a lot of change in the past half century since the March On Washington in 1963.

Many Northerners have moved South; many people of African American and Latino heritage have grown up in an environment where segregation and open prejudice is gone: and we have seen Southern Presidents who completely represented a different image of the South.

So we have President Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, who overcame his past and his heritage, and promoted the Civil Rights Revolution, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

We have Jimmy Carter of Georgia, the first Southerner elected from outside since Zachary Taylor in 1848, representing the “New South” Governors elected in 1970, including Ruben Askew of Florida and Dale Bumpers of Arkansas. Carter promoted advancements in civil rights and human rights, and demonstrated then, and right up to this moment, that he is a very principled, decent man.

And we have Bill Clinton, elected Governor of Arkansas, representing the New South tradition after Dale Bumpers had initiated it in Arkansas, and being a major promoter of civil rights and equality during his Presidency, as much as Johnson and Carter.

And we have John Lewis, the only surviving speaker at the March on Washington, now 73 years old, and carrying on the tradition of his mentor, Martin Luther King, Jr. He has been an exemplary Congressman from Georgia, and truly the conscience of the nation on civil rights!

These four gentlemen, three Presidents and a Congressman, represent the best of the “New South”!

The “Old South” was thought to be overcome, particularly over time with the death of Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, and others of their ilk.

But as it turns out, the “Old South” mentality has survived even past these two GOP leaders who promoted segregation and hate, as the 2013 Republican Party, with the evil influence of the Tea Party Movement, is working very hard to back track on racial equality, racial progress, racial justice, and using code language to appeal to the bigots and racists who remain in America, whether in the South or Midwest or Great Plains areas of the nation, and hoping to repeal the progress of the past half century.

They do this without shame or embarrassment, and that is what is most troubling, and they even have their talk show hosts on radio and television and cable, who spew forth hateful and divisive propaganda with no apologies–Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity et al—and make millions on promotion of hate and division, rather than trying to bring us together and move forward!

So the “Old South” is, ironically, surviving in the party of Abraham Lincoln, Thaddeus Stevens, Charles Sumner and the other principled Republicans of 150 years ago, who fought against the “Old South” and slavery, and would, if they were here today, hold their heads in their hands, and weep over what the Republican Party they loved, has become!

A Great Historic Moment: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter At Lincoln Memorial Today To Commemorate 50th Anniversary Of March On Washington!

Today will go down as one of the most historic days of speech making in American history, commemorating one of the greatest speeches and events in American history—the historic speech of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the March on Washington fifty years ago today!

We will see three Democratic Presidents–Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter—speak at the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate the event, along with Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, the older daughter of Lyndon B. Johnson, and the one surviving speaker of the March on Washington, Georgia Congressman John Lewis!

As wonderful as all this is, one has to wonder where is George W. Bush? His dad, George H. W. Bush, is in poor health and in a wheelchair, so he gets a pass, but why is the son not expected to be there? And what about the Republican leadership in Congress and Republican Governors? Where are they, and will any show up? If so, there is so far a deathly silence, as if they do not wish to be part of this historic event, even though many Republicans were supportive fifty years ago.

If no leading Republicans show up, it will be a total disgrace, and a sign of the terminal illness of a party that had Lincoln, TR, and Ike, along with many Senators and Governors historically, who made the Republican Party proud!

Georgia Congressman John Lewis: The Connection Between Voting Rights And Gay Rights

Georgia Congressman John Lewis has been a major civil rights leader, connected with Martin Luther King, Jr,, and had his head cracked while marching for voting rights in the South.

As a Congressman since 1987, Lewis has been a voice of conscience, and was a rare case of a politician condemning the Defense Of Marriage Act , when it passed Congress in 1996, and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton, afraid to take a stand against it, due to his reelection campaign of that year for the Presidency.

At that time, Lewis compared the concept of interracial marriage,. which had been illegal until 1967, and said gay marriage was no different than interracial marriage, that anyone should be able to marry the person he or she loves!

So Lewis was devastated by the decision of the Supreme Court, negating Section 4 of the Voting Rights Acts of 1965, while thrilled by the decisions of the Supreme Court allowing for gay marriage in California, and for federal recognition of gay marriage, relating to its legality, and the right of gay couples to benefits and privileges of married couples!

Lewis has felt all kinds of emotion in the past two days, and he has stated eloquently, that voting rights guarantees that took nearly a century to accomplish, and were in place for almost half a century,. are now gone, and will it take another century to restore the guarantee of voting rights without any discrimination?

So it is hard not to feel the pain and emotional turmoil this great man, an icon of civil rights, is going through at age 73! God bless him and protect him for many more years of devoted service to civil rights and human rights!

We will see him again as the one surviving major civil rights leaders who participated 50 years ago in the March On Washington on August 28, 1963, which will be reenacted on August 24, 2013!

Commemoration Of The Selma To Montgomery March 48 Years Ago: Bloody Sunday Cannot Be Forgotten

On March 7, 1965, a civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, for voting rights for African Americans, was the location of brutal police action at the Edmund Pettus Bridge against the peaceful civil rights demonstrators.

John Lewis, now a long term Congressman from Georgia, incurred a cracked skull that day, and today, he and Al Sharpton and many other people of all races converged on the site to commemorate the horrible events of that day 48 years ago, which had the effect of galvanizing action by Congress and President Lyndon B. Johnson within four months, with the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

Joining them today was Vice President Joe Biden, giving his usual inspiring speech, and making clear that the Voting Rights Act is now, now under potential threat of having the crucial Section 5 declared unconstitutional by a conservative Republican majority chosen by Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. The Court may be ready to show they have either forgotten history, or choose to ignore the history of that day, and trust that the Southern states, which have worked to make voting more difficult in 2012 and earlier, can be trusted to avoid undermining the basic right to vote for all citizens, which is supposedly guaranteed by the 15th, 19th, and 26th Amendments,

This is a day to recall and to commit to prayer and statesmanship, hoping that the Supreme Court will do the right thing, and retain Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, since Congress has constantly renewed it, and ignore the call of states rights, which has been constantly tied to bigotry and discrimination!

Supreme Court Bitterly Divided Over Possible Curbing Of Voting Rights Act: A Repeat Of The Compromise Of 1877 Abandonment Of African Americans!

It is clear that the Supreme Court is bitterly divided over the Voting Rights Act, which is hanging in the balance after the oral arguments this week, with Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan strongly challenging Justice Antonin Scalia, who said the act was a “racial entitlement”, which demonstrates that Scalia has no understanding of the history of the denial of voting rights, and the need to continue to monitor what those states that have discriminated are now doing.

The Republican Party abandoned African Americans on this day in 1877, when they agreed to the Compromise of 1877, making their candidate for President, Rutherford B. Hayes President, despite the clear cut lead of Democrat Samuel Tilden in popular votes. Part of the deal was for the GOP to stop being the party that had advanced civil rights through two laws during Reconstruction, the creation of the Freedmen’s Bureau, and the passage of three amendments to the Constitution.

The southern states went ahead and continued a policy of discrimination for the next ninety years on voting, and imposing Jim Crow segregation, and the GOP, the majority party until 1932, did nothing about it, due to the deal set up in the Compromise of 1877.

After ninety years, finally, voting rights, supposedly guaranteed under the 15th Amendment, but not enforced, were restored under the Voting Rights Act, but not before civil rights marchers were beaten up, such as Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, and others slaughtered in the name of promoting civil rights in the South.

But along comes Antonin Scalia, who conveniently forgets that even Jews, and also Italians such as himself, were lynched in the South in the near century in which African Americans were denied their basic rights, including voting.

And he wants the Court to become “activist”, when that is precisely what conservatives claim they hate about the Supreme Court. And so therefore, to hell with the overwhelming vote of the Congress to extend the Voting Rights act in 2006, and let’s wipe out all progress and return us to the states “deciding” if any group can vote, instead of “guaranteeing” the right to vote, the basic element of democracy!

So just as the Compromise of 1877 brought us a President who had NOT won the popular vote, and followed through on taking the GOP out of its civil rights activism, so now, two appointments of another President, George W. Bush, not elected by popular vote, and instead put in by a partisan Republican Court including Scalia, shall repeat history and deny Africans Americans the guarantee of the right to vote granted in the 15th Amendment in 1870!