Two man you may not know much about are John Lewis and Richard Trunka. Before today, I could fit what I knew of either on the head of a pin. Maybe after this, we’ll all know a little more.
First up, Mr. Lewis:
Arena contributor, Rep. John Lewis, in a strong statement sent to Arena and posted on his re-election web site, criticized the McCain-Palin campaign, saying “they are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all.”
How’s that for a lead in? Here is his statement in its entirety:
As one who was a victim of violence and hate during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, I am deeply disturbed by the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign. What I am seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse.
During another period, in the not too distant past, there was a governor of the state of Alabama named George Wallace who also became a presidential candidate.
George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama.
As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all. They are playing a very dangerous game that disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy. We can do better. The American people deserve better.
Heavy stuff. John McCain has described John Lewis as one of the “three wise men” he would consult as president. So know the what Lewis wrote had to sting. More backstory and impact in that second Politico piece I just linked. Why not go for the hat trick of links to the same webpage in this paragraph and say with a title like Civil rights icon says McCain stirs hate, you know it’s not pulling any punches? Oh, that was totally worth it.
It hardly needs mention that I agree with Lewis. With the dead and decaying housing market, the 401ks, stock portfolios and retirement funds, the anger, resentment, confusion and fear, the dry tinder out in the sun with a stiff breeze coming in from the south, playing with matches is not a good idea.
Next up: A video of Richart Trumka speaking to the United Steelworkers (USW) convention back in July:
Trumka is the Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO. You can read more about him on wiki and through google searches. His speech hit home with a lot of people.
That video has been all over the web already. All over. And it just landed on drunkcyclist today. We’re no longer current. Were we ever? Damn. I need some bike stories…
Both men are speaking the truth. This is the real. This is what is happening. Right here in America. Today. Grim business. I thought I’d never see such blatant racism. But is that the truth? Maybe I’ve always seen it. Maybe it’s always been there, just beneath the surface. Maybe it’s easier for me not to see it because I’m a middle class white guy with a wife, two kids, two cars and a house in the suburbs. If it was in my face, every day, as it is for some in this country, my wandering eyes would have no choice. Maybe the problem is we just don’t want to call it for what it is: the status quo. The writing is on the walls. It always has been. All it takes is for one to stop waking with his head down long enough to stop and read it. Maybe I was just too young and idealistic when violence exploded and buildings burned following the Rodney King verdict, and when people danced in the streets when O.J. beat the rap. And maybe by “young and idealistic”, I really mean naive.
It is my greatest fear that Barack Obama will be elected President and then be assassinated. In fact, and I hate to say it, I believe with great certainty that it will happen. Such is the low bar of my faith: I expect nothing but the worst out of my countrymen.
Need I mention that Barack Obama saw what awaited him on that far horizon? He spoke of it in July:
Spooky shit. They say Martin Luther King foresaw his death. I wonder, sometimes, what Barack Obama sees in his dreams…
And then I worry a great deal about the country my children will grow up in.by