John Lewis was born in 1940 in rural Alabama. He attended a segregated high school. In 1961, he volunteered to participate in the Freedom Rides, which challenged segregation at interstate bus terminals across the South. He was beaten and clubbed by mobs, then arrested by police. He has spent his whole career working toward peaceful progress in our country’s direction. Lewis and others helped change America for the better. He has been arrested over 40 times for demonstrations, as recently as April 2009 in a demonstration about the genocide in Darfur.
Elected to Congress in 1986, Nancy Pelosi has called John Lewis “the conscience of the U.S. Congress.”
Last Sunday when walking to the House floor, protesters and members of the “Tea Party” shouted at John Lewis with the worst words a member of his race can be called. And spit on. The NY Times has the story and statement released from the Congressman’s office as well as quotes from Rep. Jim Clyburn (Majority House Whip) who heard similar things last week. “I heard people saying things today that I have not heard since March 15, 1960, when I was marching to try to get off the back of the bus,” Clyburn said.
This is abhorrent behavior from this group. Heated passion and raw feelings leads to hateful feelings and speech. House Minority Leader Boehner on Meet the Press called the remarks “reprehensible”, but added “Let’s not let a few isolated incidents get in the way of the fact that millions of Americans are scared to death of the reform bill.”
This is where I get pissed off. Why haven’t we heard reactions from John McCain, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Bob Dole, any of the Bush’s, and that perky former governor of Alaska? How about all those voices on Fox News and conservative radio who literally have hours at their disposal? And I’m not talking about a statement. I’m talking about letting the country know they oppose this kind of scare tactic scummery. This is an example of how leader-less the GOP is now. How the shrillest voices are the only ones being heard. And how if this party has any principles or class left, let’s bring it to the table or long term go the way of the Whigs.