I came across this video of Georgia Congressman John Lewis speaking to the DNC earlier this evening (h/t Eliana Johnson at NRO).
Lewis was recounting his time as a Freedom Rider in 1961. During a ride from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans, Lewis and his companion were beaten by a white mob when they attempted to enter the waiting room of a bus station in Rocky Hill, South Carolina.
Following the 2008 election, one of the men who beat Lewis came to his congressional office in Washington, D.C. to apologize and ask his forgiveness.
Now I’ll stop here for a moment. That is a very moving, powerful story.
Unfortunately, Lewis draws the wrong lesson from it:
This man and I don’t want to go back. We don’t want to go back.
Brothers and sisters, do you want to go back?
Or do you want to keep America moving forward?
The implication of Lewis’ questions are clear. If you elect Mitt Romney, white mobs will wantonly beat up black people in bus stations.
In so doing, John Lewis has cheapened the meaning of racism and thereby has cheapened himself.
Then again I can’t say I am terribly surprised. After all, this is the same man who put John McCain and Sarah Palin in the same breath with George Wallace four years ago. In 2010, Lewis was amongst several black Congressmen who accused Tea Party activists of shouting racial epithets at them during the height of the Obamacare debate.
During an Obama rally last June in Atlanta, Lewis said:
There are forces in Washington and all around the country who want to take us back. We’ve come too far. Some of us gave a little blood on that bridge.
The last sentence is a reference to when he sustained a skull fracture after being beaten by Alabama State Troopers when he led protesters across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma back in 1965.
That John Lewis would liken Republicans or Tea Party activists to those who beat peaceful protesters nearly half a century ago is contemptible, disgraceful and unworthy of a man of his experience.
Sadly, I’m afraid this probably won’t be the last time we see John Lewis stoop to this level.
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