John Lewis

Toughest Democratic Race To Take Sides: Ed Markey Vs. Joe Kennedy III In Massachusetts

The toughest Democratic race for Congress is coming to a conclusion on Tuesday, September 1, when Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts faces Congressman Joe Kennedy III for the nomination for the US Senate.

Both are clearly progressives, but Markey is seen as more Left than Kennedy.

Markey has been endorsed by Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, former Vice President Al Gore, former Democratic Presidential nominee (1988) Michael Dukakis, documentary creator Ken Burns, Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, Carole King, Tom Steyer, many environmental groups, and the Boston Globe Editorial Board, as well as most Massachusetts mayors and many Democrats in the state legislature. and half the Congressional delegation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has endorsed Kennedy, and the Kennedy Family is, of course, behind Kennedy, and also many Congressmen, including the late John Lewis and Joaquin Castro, but he has alienated many who think he should have waited until Markey retired, or Warren ended up in a potential Joe Biden cabinet.

The seat is guaranteed to whoever wins the primary on Tuesday, as Republicans have not won state wide except with the first African American Senator since Reconstruction (Edward Brooke) decades ago, and Scott Brown, who succeeded Ted Kennedy and then was defeated by Elizabeth Warren.

Markey has served since 1976, 44 years in Congress, starting when he was 30 years old, with 37 in the US House of Representatives, and then he took over John Kerry’s Senate seat when Kerry became Secretary of State under Barack Obama in 2013. In so doing, Markey set a record as the longest serving Congressman, who then ended up in the US Senate at age 67.

Markey is just about the most liberal Democratic Senator, while Kennedy in eight years in the House, and now nearing 40, is also liberal, but it could be argued not as much, whatever that means!

So two men, who started off at 30 and 32 in Congress, now face each other, as the old guy with the long record, and the young guy, who is a Kennedy, but seems likely to lose the primary, based on recent polls, which show Markey 12 points ahead of Kennedy!

This might mean the end of all Kennedys in Massachusetts always winning, and it could be that Joe Kennedy III might not get another chance to go to the Senate, and might not be able to run again for the House of Representatives.

This is quite a gamble by a Kennedy, and it seems likely to be a lost cause!

The inclination of this blogger and author is that if I lived in Massachusetts, I would vote for Markey, but not be happy about rejecting a talented Joe Kennedy III!

This race should not have happened, as Joe III should have waited for either Markey or Warren to leave the Senate, without this pitched battle now coming to its end on Tuesday!

Death Of Civil Rights Icon John Lewis, A True Inspiration For Nearly 60 Years

This blogger and author woke up today and was shocked to discover that Civil Rights Icon John Lewis, Georgia Congressman since 1987, had passed away at age 80 of pancreatic cancer.

Lewis was a great inspiration to all of us who believe in civil rights and progressive reforms, and he personally paid the price in the early to mid 1960s, leading to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

He was arrested multiple times and bloodied and injured by Ku Klux Klansman all over the South, but he remained committed to nonviolent civil disobedience and basic human rights.

Lewis was the last speaker to survive, among those who spoke at the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, and worked closely with the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, even though he was just a young man in his mid 20s.

There is a movement on to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama after him, as he was injured on “Bloody Sunday” on March 7, 1965, when marching for voting rights at that site.

Pettus was a Confederate Army General in the Civil War, a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, and a United States Senator from Alabama. It is time to remove his name from that bridge, and rename it after John Lewis.

Lewis will be remembered in the annals of history as a truly great man, and one of the most outstanding members historically of the House of Representatives.

John Lewis, Civil Rights Icon, Seriously Ill With Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer: Need To Pray For Recovery!

It is a shock to learn that revered Georgia Congressman John Lewis, a Civil Rights Icon, who marched with Martin Luther King Jr in 1965, is seriously ill with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer.

Lewis is a true treasure, a giant figure, a model for what every member of Congress should be like in public service.

The fact that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg survived Pancreatic Cancer in 2009, and that former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has survived 19 months since Pancreatic Cancer surgery is a sign of the potential for survival, but most people do not last more than a few months, and many celebrities have been taken from us over the years by this cruel disease.

We all need to pray for Lewis, that he will be able to recover and continue his priceless work in the Congress in 2020 and beyond!

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!