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  Who do you believe?   A man who was actually there during on of the most turbulent racial times I our history or some McCain campaign hack who is doing everything he can to help win an election?  Me I am going with the person who saw, felt, and heard all the nasty hate-filled rhetoric that was prevalent at the time.
 

  Here is Rep. John Lewis’s statement:

 "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 today 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 only desired to exercise their constitutional rights.  Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed one Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama.
           "As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Governor 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."

   John Lewis did not compare Johm McCain with George Wallace in a personal sense, he compared their tactics, and as a minority  who also has seen and lived with racial tensions in southern Ohio, I understand what he is saying. There are a lot of people in this country who will blindly believe anything that someone tells them.  Case in point, the woman that said Obama is an "ARAB". Where did she get that idea?  At a rally when Palin keeps insisting that Obama "Is not one of us". Add that to the announcing his middle name and saying that he "Pals around with terrorist" and what conclusion do some people come to?  
   For those of us who are over 40, we understand that what Mr. Lewis  said is true.  His words describe himself as a "Victim" of racial hatred, which no one can deny, and states that what the McCain-Palin ticket is doing "Reminds" him of that period. It reminds him of people getting all riled up over lies and untrue statements.  Statements like "He pals around with a domestic terrorist".  He states that George Wallace had  "Created the Climate" that lead to violence.  When someone at a rally calls the opponent a "terrorist" and mentions his middle eastern middle name, and keeps saying "He’s not one of us" I believe that is also "creating a climate" of hate and mistrust. There have been numerous report of racial slurs being said, news reporters being threatened, and someone yelling "Kill him" at a rally.  What do you call that?  Mr. Lewis didn’t say that McCain was acting like Wallace in any other regard than "sowing" the seeds of hate and division, which I believe all of us can agree with.  He says that they are "playing with fire", "not careful", and "playing a very dangerous game".  Not once do I see him say that John McCain believes the same things George Wallace did, but he is sure using George Wallace’s tactics of divide and conquer.
  McCain and Palin can question the man’s character and his associations all they want, but when you start using statement’s like "He’s not one of US’, and "Who is this guy with the funny middle name", then you have crossed the line.  Who the hell is US anyway?  From a minority point of view it is more than obvious what is meant.  He is not WHITE.  That is racism and you can try and hide it all you want, but as has been said, you can put lipstick on a pig and it is still a pig.  Well you can put lipstick on racism and it is still racism.

Originally posted to OneMansOpinion on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 06:41 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  john lewis... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maren a, TomP, Inky99, Crabby Abbey, atxcats

    was on the receiving end of punches, sticks, dogs and firehoses in the american south...

    i trust his opinion over any scumbag like rick davis.

    Politics didn't lead me to working people. Working people led me to politics. -- Barack Obama

    by JackieandFritz on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 06:46:50 AM PDT

  •  I am so glad he spoke up. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maren a, Inky99, MKSinSA

    The McCain campaign is seriously disturbed.  I do think McCain is a total bigot and I think he is enjoying riling the masses.  He grimaced when he had to tell that lady Obama's not a Muslim.  Grimaced!

    And for his campaign to say Obama needs to apologize for Rep. Lewis' statement?  HUH?  That's a big WTF????

    Why would Obama have to apologize for anyone else's words ever?  McCain has lost his marbles.  

  •  His comments (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maren a, kir

    struck me as very perceptive.  Once I heard them, I couldn't believe anyone would find them to be shocking.  Sarah Palin has stepped right up to that racist line (and over it, IMO) like I haven't heard a politician do in my memory (and I am the same age as Palin).  I don't see how pointing out the obvious was wrong or hateful.  I prefer the truth.

    Fox news: Even better than meth!

    by get the red out on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 06:49:13 AM PDT

  •  The facts are that (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maren a, Inky99, Adept2u, Focusmarker

    the McCain camp did cross the line.  The first time any wingnut yelled terrorist, traitor, arab, kill him or anything like that at one of their rallies, both McCain and Gidget should have stopped and said to that person, NO.  No don't yell stuff like that, please don't name call, please maintain some respect.  But they didn't.  McCain and Palin allowed it.  And by allowing it, they condoned it even though in their heart of hearts, they might not.  

    And once you allow that, the wingnuts felt like it was okay and look what happened.  We have all seen it before and Lewis is entitled to his opinion and he makes valid points.  

    "He's a warped, frustrated old man". ~ It's a Wonderful Life

    by lostinamerica2711 on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 06:54:11 AM PDT

  •  McCain blames Obama for inciting violence... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maren a, Adept2u

    after all, it is not McCain's fault that Obama is black and probably a terrorist.

    Sorry, John, that meme don't hunt.

    You and Palin are racist xenophobes.  Deal with it.

    Obama--A Bridge to Somewhere

    by venezia on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 06:56:53 AM PDT

  •  McCain calls him one of the wisest men he knows (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maren a, Adept2u

    but when he tells the truth, he's no longer wise?

  •  John Lewis was absolutely correct (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maren a, Inky99

    During the conversation on faith John McCain named John Lewis as one of the wise men he would come to for advice in times of crisis.  I assume because of his portfolio that he would have sought advice on issues of social and civil rights.  John Lewis is the only black man i've ever seen John McCain reference with respect.  As a 43 year old black man I can say John Lewis has done more to secure my personal day to day rights than John McCain ever could as he was living his life in captivity for the rights of Vietnamese people.

    That John McCain would attack John Lewis for delivering the advice that he sought is beyound hypocricy deceit and insidious slanderous lies.  It is the final proof that John Sydney McCain has no honor.

    Oh McCain hacks for the love of god George Wallace ran for president in 68, 72, and 76 his style of campaigning didn't die in the 60's.

    I am not tame, and this is no time for the timid. Your very liberty is at stake.

    by Adept2u on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 07:06:06 AM PDT

  •  Palin/McCain Hate Speak (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maren a, Adept2u

    John Lewis was right. And I'll take it further -

    Who would have imagined that Adolf Hitler would be reincarnated as the female governor of Alaska?

    The parallels to 1931-33 Weimar Germany are striking - the only thing left out of the current hatespeak and rabble-rousing (interesting expression, no?) are calls for racial purity.

  •  Of course he was correct (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maren a

    about the toxic climate that McCain and Palin are creating. The McCain did what most campaigns do - seize any small part of the statement they could spin or contest and ignore the larger issue. The main issue stands, the McCain campaign is fomenting hate.

  •  I believe John Lewis, too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maren a

    One Man, you are absolutely on point with your post.
    Last Monday morning as I watched Sarah Palin speak in Clearwater saying that Barack Obama palled with a terriorist, I realized that overnight the tenor of the crowd at McCain/Palin campaign events had changed. It frightened me.

    I was born and lived unti adulthood in a small town in rural Alabama about 50 miles northwest of Birmingham. I was 10 years old in 1963, but I remember the seething anger on the faces of the crowds as they taunted and later attacked Civil rights activists. I remember George Wallace's inagural address in which he said "Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."

    Fast forward to Ocotber 2008 when both McCain and Palin have made inflammatory statements and the crowd responded with shouts of "treason, kill him, off with his head". I saw the same seething anger  and hatred on the faces of McCain supporters this week as I watched on TV, just as I had 45 years ago. It frightened me and I had the same sinking feeling that nothing good can come of this.

    Rep. Lewis was not connecting George Wallace and John McCain as racists, but as politicians who used ugly , divisive, hateful rhetoric to incite their supporters and whip up anger and hatred.

    Simply, I believe John Lewis saw in 100X magnification the same thing I saw last week.  

  •  John Lewis may have been right, but he was wrong (0+ / 0-)

    to have made the statement.

    It gave McCain an argument, no matter how weak, to distract Obama and the American people from the real issues in the campaign.

    Let Obama and his campaign handle McCain/Palin and their supporters' ridiculous statements.  McCain was getting hammered by the press for the racist, anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, incendiary statements from McCain/Palin and their supporters.  Obama did not need Lewis to give McCain an opening to attack Obama, and to deflect the criticism away from McCain.

    To the extent that Lewis' statement caused Obama even 5 seconds to respond to McCain's charges, that's is 5 seconds taken away from Obama's campaign.

    The last thing Obama needs in the next three weeks is a relitigation and a regurgitation of George Wallace or the other wars of the 60's.  McCain wants to drag Obama into that morass. For example, McCain's attemps to tar Obama with Ayers 60's radicalism.

    Obama is focused on the real issues of 2008 and beyond. Let's keep it that way.

    Irie.  

    If lying were an Olympic sport, Sarah Palin would have won the gold medal.

    by pwr2thepeople on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 07:30:42 AM PDT

    •  You've been watcing too much MSM (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maren a

      methinks.

    •  John Lewis had to speak for his constituents (0+ / 0-)

      John Lewis had to speak for himself and his constituents.

      He represents people in the 5th District of Georgia.

      He was "called out" by John McCain as a potential advisor.

      He sees crowds filled with the same kind of irrational hatred as those who clubbed him as he marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL in 1965.

      His entire life's struggle, his credibility, his own political role and integrity were therefore on the line, and he said what he needed to say.

      As important as this election is, there are other things still going on in the world.  Other lives.

      John Lewis said what he had to say.  Amen.  End of story.

      •  I'm not his constituent (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        maren a

        and I'm white, and he speaks for me, too.

        He speaks for America.

      •  Plus (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inky99

        I don't share your view that it's harmful to Obama.

        Personally, I believe it functions like this:

        McCain/Palin inflame xenophobia.

        A surrogate is needed to call them on it.

        John Lewis steps up.

        Obama statement says, "the animosity of the crowd is frightening, but McCain is no Wallace."  Thereby, having put the country on notice that mob anger is unacceptable, but at the SAME TIME "distinguishing" Obama from "the old civil rights machine" in front of white voters who are on the fence about that, while signaling to black voters that rampant xenophobia IS being noticed.

      •  His constituents know very well how to keep your (0+ / 0-)

        "eyes on the prize."

        And how to take you eyes off the prize.

        One of the keys to the civil rights movement that Lewis was a part of was message discipline.

        Lewis' statement took Obama and his campaign off-message.

        He could have made the same point without the George Wallace reference.  Indeed, Obama's campaign statement supporting Lewis' comment except the Wallace reference was a perfect response.

        And you can raise the tragic, shameful history (and present) of America, and Lewis's personal suffering for the cause to excuse his statement. But it still does not justify his divertinng the message of Obama and Obama's campaign.  I am sure if Al Sharpton said the same thing as Lewis said, you would not be defending Sharpton.

        As a Congressman and a supporter of Obama, and as a veteran of the civil rights movement, he ought to know that it is not about what "he had to say."

        It is about keeping "the eyes on the prize," so that the "other things still going on in the world" can be made right, and the "[o]ther lives" can be improved.

        Irie.

        If lying were an Olympic sport, Sarah Palin would have won the gold medal.

        by pwr2thepeople on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 08:21:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  He may have saved some lives (0+ / 0-)

         One thing that made the civil rights era so violent is because people like John Lewis stood their ground and took the heat for everyone.  If HE could feel the same kinda heat coming from the McCain/Palin rallies,  he again did all of us a favor by saying what he said.  If the anger was allowed to grow where would it end?  I don't wanna think of that.

  •  recommended (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maren a

    I've been waiting for a diary that takes this one.  This is good.  

    The only reason anyone would have a problem with what John Lewis said if because they're playing defense.

    Keep it up, Lewis!

    Let them play defense.  

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