A tale of the tape: Rep. John Lewis vs. President-elect Donald Trump

 

This really isn’t a fair fight. But hey, Donald Trump went there when he insulted Congressman John Lewis via Tweet Saturday saying the civil rights icon is all talk and no action. Trump added insult to injury by tweeting that Lewis’s congressional district is a crime-ridden disaster. This came after Rep. Lewis (D-Georgia) said in an interview that he did not consider Trump to be a legitimate president because of Russian interference in the presidential election.

Trump is in serious need of a history lesson (not to mention a primer on the First Amendment).

So let’s go:

John Lewis: One of the leaders of the Nashville Student Movement and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee  (S.N.C.C.) while attending seminary in Nashville. Was the youngest speaker at the March on Washington in 1963. Lewis’s original speech was so controversial, organizers of the march asked him to tone  it down.

Donald Trump: Received alarge sum of money from his father to get started in the real estate business.  Made a name for himself as a successful businessman despite the fact that many of his business practices have faced legal and ethical questions.

John Lewis: One of the original Freedom Riders who took part in the Congress of Racial Equality’s May 1961 effort to test desegregation laws on interstate buses in the Deep South. Lewis and other Freedom Riders were attacked and beaten by angry mobs in Alabama while authorities did little to help the victims. C.O.R.E. was forced to suspend the rides.  After 400 Freedom Riders of all races were arrested in Jackson, Miss. for breach of the peace, the Interstate Commerce Commission ordered an end to segregated conditions on Greyhound and Trailways buses later that year.

Donald Trump: Was sued for housing discrimination in New York City after teams of testers found that he and his father discriminated against would-be tenants who were African American and Latino.  The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. Trump’s companies have faced several lawsuits over the years from contractors, business colleagues and people who believe they were misled by leaders at Trump University.

John Lewis: Was beaten and nearly died on the Edmund Pettus Bridge between Selma and Montgomery while marching for the voting rights for African Americans. The efforts of Lewis and other protesters led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

Donald Trump: Was caught on a hot mic making lewd comments about women.

John Lewis: One of the longest-serving and most respected members of Congress. When asked when he might retire, Lewis said in 2011: “Retirement is not in my D.N.A.” adding that he has more work to do for justice and freedom before he leaves this earth.

Donald Trump: Fired Omarosa and Gary Busey on “Celebrity Apprentice.”

Serious Donald Trump? You don’t want it with Congressman John Lewis.

 

 

The aura and legacy of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

The dashing young president and his stylish wife are riding in the back of a convertible limousine, waving to people who’ve come to see them on a crisp November day in Dallas. The governor of Texas and his wife are seated in front of them smiling and waving. Suddenly shots ring out. Jacqueline Kennedy, her pink suit covered in blood and brain matter from her beloved husband, John F. Kennedy, frantically tries to climb out of the limo. A member of the Secret Service pushes her back inside the car. The bullets fired at the presidential motorcade hit Texas Gov. John Connally too.

Hours later, anchorman Walter Cronkite announces with tears in his eyes that President John F. Kennedy is dead. Cronkite, his voice breaking, pauses and removes his glasses.

President Kennedy’s assassination at the age of 46 on Nov. 22, 1963 changed the course of history. At 43, he was the youngest person elected to the presidency.  He and his young family offered hope and promise to a generation of Americans. He fought against Communism, reluctantly believing America should stay in the Vietnam War though it wasn’t ours to win. After a near catastrophic standoff, he managed to get Soviet missiles out of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis; which some historians argue he caused. He established the Peace Corps, an organization of volunteers who work in countries around the globe to promote peace and good will. He believed America should go to the moon but he would not live to see it happen.

Born into a Massachusetts family of privilege and political power, Kennedy famously told Americans during his January 1961 inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” It was a message that resonated deeply with a generation poised for change.

When hundreds of Freedom Riders challenged segregated conditions on Greyhound and Trailways buses in the segregated South in 1961, President Kennedy was reluctant to get involved. He didn’t want to anger Southern Democrats and foreign affairs dominated his young presidency, remembered John Seigenthaler, an aide to Bobby Kennedy, the president’s younger brother and then-U.S. Attorney General.

During his campaign for the presidency in 1960, John F. Kennedy placed a strategic telephone call to Coretta Scott King, the wife of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who had been arrested during a protest in Atlanta. That phone call earned the candidate an endorsement from Martin Luther King Sr. and Kennedy went on to receive 70 percent of the black vote in his victory over Richard Nixon. Some questioned Kennedy’s sincerity but he later said equal rights for African-Americans was a moral necessity.

The idealistic young president would not live to see his predecessor, President Lyndon B. Johnson, sign major Civil Rights legislation into law in 1964.

His assassination was the first of several that would take place in the 1960s, when Americans dared to believe they could change the world. The bravery and actions of President John F. Kennedy and his younger brother Bobby Kennedy, were a big part of those beliefs.