I felt better as I watched Real President Obama eulogize John Lewis today. “We Shall Overcome,” belted out at the end of Lewis’s memorial service in Atlanta. Jumping to my feet dancing, clapping, and singing, I recalled participating in 1960s demonstrations.
On this day that the historical aberration in the White House floated the postponement of the November presidential election, this woo-woo thought popped into my head: Did John Lewis know the Oglala Lakota quote “Today is a good day to die?” Did he know that during his memorial service Obama and others would push the absolute necessity of voting on Nov. 3?
Who was this man, a saint of American History? I’m not religious but I believe in the sanctity of John Lewis. His head was bashed in marching for voting rights in 1965. Marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Marching across a bridge named for a KKK leader.
Marching for equality every day of his life. For more than 30 years as a U.S. Congressman from Georgia, engaging in “Good Trouble” to right 400 years of inequality in this country. Who else would have led a sit-in for support of gun control legislation on the floor of the House of Representatives?
A few years ago I walked across the Pettus Bridge in Alabama. Halfway across I felt the presence of those ’60s Civil Rights activists. So powerful was the sensation, I turned around and walked back to where I started. I felt better. Had a few of my memory cells traveled back and mingled with the marchers, somehow adding support to their cause?
In a remarkable NYT op-ed destined to be published the day Lewis died, the voting rights hero encouraged young people to “[lay] down the heavy burdens of hate.”
I don’t know about you but I’m tired of living in a shithole country.
I feel better aligning with John Lewis’s optimism. I feel better imagining a Democratic electoral landslide on Nov. 3. I feel better visualizing a Democratic U.S. Senate takeover, so that some “Good Trouble” can create a new normal for all Americans.