|A young John Lewis, from the days of Jim Crow,
arrested 41 times for his non-violent civil rights protests
Back in the late 1950s and through the 1960’s John Lewis fought for civil rights. He was a non-violent protester who was severely injured during peaceful protests.
As a result of those peaceful protests, civil rights legislation was passed, and became law with the signature of then-president Lyndon Johnson. Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act, the conservatives have worked tirelessly to bring back Jim Crow and to undo the provisions that guaranteed voting rights.
This is the shame, the stain, on conservatives and on our history that we let them get away with doing it. No one understands that better than now-Congressman John Lewis. Throughout the south, and in places other than the deep south which have Republicans in control of state legislatures we see voter suppression taking root. This has been reflected in the decreasing voter participation among those targeted by voter suppression efforts.
I would argue that the lower the voter participation, the less legitimate, the less valid is any government of the people, by the people, or for the people. To selectively take away the right to vote is not only a racial attack, it is an attack on the very premise of our nation, representative government, by limiting government representation as much as possible to conservative white people.
Nothing could be more in opposition to John Lewis, or to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
When we have a racist drug policy that disproportionately makes felons of minorities for what were previously not felony crimes, not only imprisoning them in largely for-profit jails which steal their labor for pennies an hour — sometimes as little as 8 cents an hour. This is Jim Crow all over again. To further deny these minorities the restoration of their voting rights has further shifted the participation in voting to white voters, and been part of the rise of white supremacy again in the south.
If anyone doubts that there is still an unrepentant population of white bigots in the US, we have only to look at the polling on those who desire to bring back anti-miscegenation laws which would again prevent intermarrying between people of different “racial” backgrounds. This reflects not only a desire for racial purity that is synonymous with white supremacy, but also a completely false understanding by ignorant conservatives of race and the characteristics associated with that false understanding of race.
Make no mistake, Trump is himself a racist, and so are those who support him, or at the very least his supporters are tolerant of racism. They are not supporters of MLK.