John Lewis is not tired

The gathering Saturday came under crystal-clear skies that set a new summer standard for perfection, even as the rhetoric about the pursuit of freedom soared to near a standard of perfection set 50 years before.
It was a day when people spoke of the future of race in America and of one man’s vision, so forcefully delivered that five decades later the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech ranks with Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Day of Infamy” speech to Congress as the most iconic in U.S. history.
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), one of the last major speakers from the 1963 rally still alive, challenged listeners to push back against this year’s Supreme Court decision that struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The court’s 5 to 4 decision freed nine states, most of them in the South, from a requirement that they seek federal approval to change their election laws.
“I gave a little blood on that bridge in Selma, Ala.,” he said, referring to his brutal beating by gas-masked police that was captured by photographers in 1965 and awakened many Americans to repression in the South.
“The vote is precious. It is almost sacred,” said Lewis, who was a student civil rights organizer 50 years ago. “It is the most powerful nonviolent tool that we have. We must say to Congress: Fix the voting rights act.
“I got arrested 40 times during the ’60s, beaten and left bloodied and unconscious,” he said. “But I’m not tired. I am ready to fight and continue to fight, and you must fight.” His address received a standing ovation.

Arrested 40 times.

104 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    Good for him. I’m tired all the time and I’ve never been arrested!

  2. 2
    Yatsuno says:

    He would be awesome in the Senate, but I could also understand him wanting to stay right where he is. Representative Lewis, you have seen and done things beyond anything I can imagine. You saw the world change because of your actions, and change for the better. The day you decide you are tired, we will fete your life. And hopefully you give us your courage to continue in your stead.

  3. 3
    shelly says:

    He’d be justified in thinking he’s done enough.

  4. 4
    JordanRules says:

    Thank you Rep. Lewis. Thank you Kay.

    Keep pushing, bending the arc.

  5. 5
    MikeJ says:

    If he really believed in what he was fighting for he’d be in the transit lounge of Sheremetyevo airport.

  6. 6
    Betty Cracker says:

    John Lewis is a true hero and national treasure.

  7. 7
    rikyrah says:

    and these were JAILS

    Jails were you could go in and not come out…where they could load you into a back of a police car in the middle of the night and you would ‘disappear’ to be found or not found later.

  8. 8
    the Conster says:

    The fortitude of people like Lewis never ceases to amaze me. It ‘s so much easier to do nothing and bitch about the relentlessness of assholes on a blog and blame Obama for the lack of ponies. Emoprogs need to be more like the fucking nutjob hater teabaggers who populate so many local and state legislatures and school boards. We all have the same 24 hours every day, and it’s all I can do to make it through a work day, feed myself and the cats, and fall asleep on the couch. That’s why I have no patience for the purity trolls – go out and fucking run for every possible office so all of the Democrats feel the pressure to push policy from Obama’s left like the teatards do to their RINOs, and then get back to me about how easy it is for Obama to “lead” when all he has is snipers from the left and right shooting at him, and if you don’t give up when you’re threatened – literally with your life – and can claim as many victories as Lewis can – then you can bitch. Otherwise, just STFU.

  9. 9
    Davis X. Machina says:

    I’m an Eeyore, I guess, but I read this and thought “the only thing preventing the GOP from moving heaven and earth to keep this great man off a commemorative postage stamp someday is their having already blown up the postal service before the chance even arose….”

  10. 10
    Kay says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I saw him at the 2008 convention sitting with his state delegation and he was like this dignified, real presence amid this wholly commercial media extravaganza.

  11. 11
    IowaOldLady says:

    John Lewis is a man of amazing courage and moral authority. He was nearly in tears the day the Supreme Court gutted the VRA, but by the next day, he was on his feet ready to fight again. We’re blessed to have him in congress or anywhere really.

  12. 12
    pagodat says:

    There were lots of union groups at the march today, which was nice to see. I saw a lot of UAW people wearing t-shirts with a photo of Dr. King and Walter Reuther together.

    You should have heard the applause when they brought Trayvon Martin and Emmit Till’s families out on the dais together.

  13. 13
    becca says:

    “Make some noise!”

    Amen!

  14. 14
    kc says:

    John Lewis is a hero. I’m in awe of him.

  15. 15
    IowaOldLady says:

    I mentioned in an open thread that one of my uncles was at the original march. He worked for the Post Office in Michigan, and the union sent a bunch of them to DC.

  16. 16
    trollhattan says:

    Man is a treasure–still fighting, still trying to make a difference after serial setbacks.

    (And still has enough moxie to go on Colbert.)

    My hat’s off to you, Rep Lewis.

  17. 17
    chopper says:

    @rikyrah:

    lol, not according to the nuts at the GOS, who were all talking about how snowden has it worse than lewis ever did. honest to god, getting your skull cracked by the police and watching your friends get ‘disappeared’ by the KKK was nothing compared to the possibility of a trial.

  18. 18
    gogol's wife says:

    Thanks for this post, Kay.

    This morning I dreamed that high-school students were marching down my street singing “We shall overcome.” It was weird — I wasn’t even focused on this being the anniversary.

  19. 19
    trollhattan says:

    @chopper:

    Holy crap, frealz?

    This has been another chapter of “I’m glad you read them [them=long list] so I don’ gotta.”

  20. 20
    askew says:

    Lewis is a true hero. I’ve caught bits and pieces of the march today and it looks like they got quite a crowd out there. Hope this is a good sign that there will be a huge voter registration push ahead of 2014 elections.

    OT – There is a fundraiser for a senior cat’s surgery over at Daily Kos that could use some attention.

  21. 21
    the Conster says:

    @chopper:

    O fer fuck sake. No wonder hippie punching is a thing.

  22. 22
    donovong says:

    I had the honor of meeting Congressman Lewis at an Obama rally in ATL back in 2007. I have admired him for decades. It was the only “I will never wash my hand again” moment of my life. Later, I sent him a photo I took that day and he autographed it and sent it back. I treasure it.

  23. 23
    Emma says:

    The sheer courage it must have taken for that young man to put his foot on that bridge. The sheer fortitude it must take for that old man to keep fighting. I am in awe of people like him.

  24. 24
    gbear says:

    @chopper: The comments at Kay’s WP link are pretty awful too, but for the opposite reasons. The actual WP story is pretty good. Thanks Kay.

  25. 25
    AxelFoley says:

    @MikeJ:

    I see what you did there.

  26. 26
    AxelFoley says:

    @the Conster:

    The fortitude of people like Lewis never ceases to amaze me. It ‘s so much easier to do nothing and bitch about the relentlessness of assholes on a blog and blame Obama for the lack of ponies. Emoprogs need to be more like the fucking nutjob hater teabaggers who populate so many local and state legislatures and school boards. We all have the same 24 hours every day, and it’s all I can do to make it through a work day, feed myself and the cats, and fall asleep on the couch. That’s why I have no patience for the purity trolls – go out and fucking run for every possible office so all of the Democrats feel the pressure to push policy from Obama’s left like the teatards do to their RINOs, and then get back to me about how easy it is for Obama to “lead” when all he has is snipers from the left and right shooting at him, and if you don’t give up when you’re threatened – literally with your life – and can claim as many victories as Lewis can – then you can bitch. Otherwise, just STFU.

    This. So very much this.

  27. 27
    gbear says:

    Hopefully Cacti will be along any minute to say how pleased he/she is with this posting.

  28. 28
    Ted & Hellen says:

    “The vote is precious. It is almost sacred,”

    This poor, deluded man.

    If only the Democratic party as a whole felt the same. :(

  29. 29
    Splitting Image says:

    If John Lewis were alive today, he’d be a Republican.

    What? Too soon?

  30. 30
    fka AWS says:

    One of the most humbling moments of my life was getting to meet Rep. James Clyburn in his office and hearing him tell stories about the protests in NC that were never covered by the newspapers.

    These people are giants among us.

  31. 31
    AxelFoley says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Too bad NONE of the Republican Party feels the same, right, troll?

  32. 32
    hildebrand says:

    I am in awe of his dogged determination and dignity – fighting the good fight for so long, doing it the right way, his understanding of the deep meaning behind the struggle, he is an amazing human being. I read his words and the tears flow – “I am not tired.” God, that just helps to put a charge into my thoughts and my actions.

  33. 33
    kc says:

    @the Conster:

    Way to crap all over the thread. That’s right, dude. Never miss an opportunity to attack anyone to the left of you.

    Yep, that’s the way to honor to John Leeis.

  34. 34
    Keith G says:

    All of you can get active. It doesn’t matter how much time, money or education you have there are things to be done. If you are in my neck of the woods, go to Battle Ground Texas. We have already started voter education and training volunteers. The fight will be precinct by precinct to make sure that all citizens get a chance to cast their vote. I imagine your states have the same.

    Get off your asses.

  35. 35
    pablo says:

    I am a 66 year old Caucasian currently living in Atlanta. John Lewis is not my Rep., Tom Price is.
    Tom Price is a scumbag, John Lewis is a GIANT!

  36. 36
    Chyron HR says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    And to think a few days ago you accused someone else of being “the most insincere person on this blog.”

  37. 37
    kc says:

    @the Conster:

    So basically, everyone on this thread, and indeed the whole blog-nay, the entire Internet-needs to just shut the fuck up, right now.including you.

    Stop commenting, people. Per Conster, you don’t have the right.

  38. 38
    hildebrand says:

    @Ted & Hellen: You know, I will play along with your fun and frolic on 99% of the posts, but I do wish that you could find just a bit time to park the snark for this thread. Please? You want to craft an argument or critique, do so, but could it be done without the biting humor that accompanies your posts.

  39. 39
    the Conster says:

    @kc:

    Yes, unless you’re doing something useful. Talk is cheap, and in fact, is worthless without action.

  40. 40
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Chyron HR:

    My comment was one hundred percent sincere. You’re weird.

  41. 41
    evap says:

    Proud to have John Lewis as my representative!

    I just returned from The Mall and the 50th anniversary celebrations. Huge crowds there. Unfortunately, I missed Lewis’s speech.

  42. 42
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @hildebrand:

    There was no snark or humor in my comment. I meant every word. The Dems have done about zilch to assure that every vote is counted and that ever voter has a right to vote since before 2000.

    Gore won the presidency, then turned over the office to Bush.

    Kerry went on vacation and conceded to Bush while people were still fighting to get their votes counted in Ohio.

    National Dems don’t give a fuck about our votes. Grow up.

  43. 43
    Not Adding Much To The Community says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Let’s break this down. “There was no snark or humor in my comment.” Agreed on the humor part. The snark was obvious, as is your shtick. Follow with three hyperbolic generalizations and a blanket assertion, capped with a command to grow up. You teach debate, don’t you?

  44. 44
    Not Adding Much To The Community says:

    I have it on good sources that John Lewis has endorsed President Obama, publicly and on more than one occasion. Can we really trust an Obot to champion an important cause like civil rights?

  45. 45
    Keith G says:

    @the Conster:

    Yes, unless you’re doing something useful. Talk is cheap, and in fact, is worthless without action.

    Funny, I was going to follow up your witless diatribe by offering the same suggestion. Instead of hurling moldy cliches around the internets, I do hope you get off that tear stained couch and go out into your neighborhood and help others in your community be able to vote. Doing that, and not engaging in name calling is how our side can prevail.

  46. 46
    JordanRules says:

    Damnet John G. Cole, your friend is classless.

    John Lewis, for all intents and purposes, is a National Dem, and this IS the party that counts people like he and Kay as members and if you don’t understand how the local battles are important, then go paint some shit and just leave this topic alone. Also, Holder and co with the litigation route is national. What have you ever fought for???????

  47. 47
    the Conster says:

    @Keith G:

    Tear stained couch? Drama queen much? That’s the opposite of what I said, but continue to project away. Pointing out the futility of criticism without constructive action on the part of my progressive “betters” is name calling? I have NO respect for sideline whinebags and if that’s name calling, then I’m guilty but it’s also the truth. I raised money and gave money and worked to get Obama elected. Remember, the choices were John McCain and then Mitt Romney, and I’m happy with the outcome and so apparently is John Lewis, which is good enough for me.

  48. 48
    Emma says:

    @JordanRules: The last Dorito?

  49. 49
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @hildebrand:

    This.

  50. 50
    Aimai says:

    @Ted & Hellen: incredible. You’d almost think John Lewis was ignorant of the fact he’s been a democratic congressman for years. What was the poor man thinking? Is it false consciousness or just stupidity? Do explain, t and h. Why don’t you step up to him and say it to his face?

  51. 51
    Donut says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    So WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING ABOUT BESIDES POSTING ON BALLOON-JUICE.COM??

    Jesus, man. It’s not the things you say or even the way that say them that’s so fucking TEDIOUS.

    It’s the fact that every person reading this knows that this all you do. Rant and piss and moan and mock and act like less emotionally advanced than my four-year old. All

    It makes you so fucking infuriating. You do nothing. You have nothng interesting to say. In fact, I’m completely annoyed with myself for even bothering.

    I suppose you think the whole contrarian schtick is really sticking it to the whole Lie-beral Intertrons, or something. But the reality is, your just jerking yourself off in public. That doesn’t make you edgy or some kind of post-modern fount of awesome. It just makes you a pathetic piece of shit who jerks off in public.

    You’ll never get it, but I felt like saying it. I am going outside and talking WITH other humans now. Maybe you should do that more often, too.

  52. 52
    Suzanne says:

    @the Conster: Word. To every word.

    Fuck the purity trolls. Has Obama been everything I wanted in life? No, but it’s better. Better for me and my family, and my LGBT and minority friends and family and neighbors. Better for women. Better for seniors. Better for everyone who didn’t already have it good enough. Can’t help that note that most of the purity trolls are those for whom it was already good enough.

    Halfway to the goal is a hundred times further than we were.

  53. 53
    raven says:

    Spending the day talking with this asshole AGAIN? Jesus, some of you are dumber than it is.

  54. 54
    Aimai says:

    @Donut: I need a cigarette after that.

  55. 55
    ruemara says:

    He’s a great man, a real person of conviction and action. I took a pass on the coverage but I know what I’m going to do this fall. It’ll be voter awareness and registration, just like last couple of years. And jawb huntin’, if the lottery or any of the past dozen resumes don’t work out. My motto is if you’re gonna go down, take a few people with you. The best way to do that is to vote.

  56. 56
    the Conster says:

    @Suzanne:

    Thank you. I think everything you said should be obvious, but then I’m not a nutjob of the left. When the nutjobs of the right have worked tirelessly to throw a spanner into every progressive initiative by threatening – with meaningful threats – to primary every single Republican who makes noises about governing for the benefit of anyone other than corporations – and the left nutjobs do nothing but whine on blogs about Obama – I grudgingly concede that the right nutjobs are more worthy of respect because they’re out there in position, ready to act. I’ve got Obama’s back. What the fuck are the left nutjobs doing? The left and the right nutjobs are on the same team. OH NOES I NAME CALLED

  57. 57
    JordanRules says:

    @Suzanne:

    Halfway to the goal is a hundred times further than we were.

    Speak on it!! Many minorities know this well. It’s an early lesson learned.

  58. 58
    raven says:

    @the Conster:

    Warning lights are flashing down at Quality Control
    Somebody threw a spanner and they threw him in the hole
    There’s rumors in the loading bay and anger in the town
    Somebody blew the whistle and the walls came down
    There’s a meeting in the boardroom they’re trying to trace the smell
    There’s leaking in the washroom there’s a sneak in personnel
    Somewhere in the corridors someone was heard to sneeze
    ‘goodness me could this be Industrial Disease?

  59. 59
    ruemara says:

    @Aimai: It is a good thing. I think I too shall stroll amoungst the peeps. I got library books to deliver and to decide if I want to make those cheddar beer mustard biscuits again, since we’re seeing World’s End Tomorrow and my friends rely on me for theme snacks.

  60. 60
    raven says:

    RIP Dean Meminger.

  61. 61
    the Conster says:

    @raven:

    I love that song. Mark Knoppfler is a poet for our times.

  62. 62

    John Lewis is an amazing guy. That he took a beating for the vote on Edmund Pettus Bridge is literally the least we can thank him for. But actually the story I like the most about him is how as a young man in 1963, he almost got the loudspeakers at the March on Washington turned off by Kennedy’s people because he was being adamant about saying some incendiary things. He backed down only at the last minute. Martin Luther King and the civil rights leaders were debating with him all the way to the Washington Memorial. There’s a fantastic blow-by-blow in David Garrow’s ridiculously well-researched “Bearing the Cross” on MLK, which I’m reading these days, and which I recommend for anyone who wants to know (in amazing detail) about the civil rights movement of the day.

  63. 63
    raven says:

    @the Conster: His album with Emmylou is wonderful and heartbreaking.

  64. 64
    the Conster says:

    @raven:

    I love Emmylou too. I’ll have to get that.

  65. 65
    raven says:

    @the Conster: “If This is Goodbye” is inspired by phone calls from 9/11 victims.

    Who knows how long we’ve got
    Or what were made out of
    Who knows if there’s a plan or not
    There is our love, I know there is our love

  66. 66
    the Conster says:

    @raven:

    I wish that had a “like” button.

  67. 67
    raven says:

    @the Conster: This is Us is a bit more uplifting.

  68. 68
  69. 69
    raven says:

    Wow, I killed BJ.

  70. 70
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Donut:

    Oh gosh.

    I’ve heard all of that before. It’s as tired as all those other times before too.

    Bots get cranky when the truth be told.

  71. 71
    Yatsuno says:

    @raven: Troll thread one post down. That and mourning Linda Rondstat.

  72. 72
    Jane2 says:

    @ruemara: Cheddar beer mustard biscuits?? Those sound divine….

  73. 73
    MikeJ says:

    @ruemara:

    since we’re seeing World’s End Tomorrow and my friends rely on me for theme snacks.

    Jellied eels.

    Also too, the first time I went to the cinema after moving to London, I was very puzzled when I ordered popcorn and they asked, “savory or sweet?”

  74. 74
    raven says:

    @Yatsuno: What??? Oh, I see. Damn, the Stone Pony.

  75. 75
    Yatsuno says:

    @MikeJ: Flavoured popcorn in theatres? HEATHENS!!!

  76. 76
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    The truth? Let’s take a look at this:

    The Dems have done about zilch to assure that every vote is counted and that ever voter has a right to vote since before 2000.

    Really?

    How many more examples of recounts instigated by Democrats do you want, you deceitful piece of shit?

  77. 77
    JPL says:

    My son is in Lewis’ district and as some might remember, I’m in the 6th district. Not only is Tom Price, my representative, his wife is on the city council. Neither of them, have accomplished anything though. Thank you, god.

    @raven: What a gorgeous day it is. I worked outside several hours and plan on doing the same thing tomorrow and Monday.

  78. 78
    JPL says:

    whoops.. double post..

  79. 79
    MikeJ says:

    @Yatsuno: Here’s the nutritional info (warning pdf) for the stuff at the snack bar at Leicester Sq. Not so much for the nutritional info, but a handy way to see what englanders eat at the movies.

  80. 80
    JPL says:

    @MikeJ: Sweet popcorn and candy floss, reallly!

  81. 81
    Yatsuno says:

    @MikeJ: Not too far off from American grub, though hot dogs are not very common fare here. I’d be curious enough about the nachos to get them just to say I ate nachos in London.

  82. 82
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @MikeJ:

    WHAT? No Goobers?

  83. 83
    Wolfdaughter says:

    You know, some of the most influential figures of our time have been African or of African descent. John Lewis, MLK, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu…and all head and shoulders above any white racist you could name, such as Pat Buchanan.

  84. 84
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Yatsuno:

    I’m pretty sure every theater (with the exception of the theater at the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts) here sells hot dogs, and they have for a long time.

    Also, too, have you been to a theater that has the little bottles of flavored popcorn salts?

  85. 85
    Sly says:

    Video of the speech here.

  86. 86
    geg6 says:

    My mom was at the original march. She never stopped talking about how wonderful that day was and how inspiring to her. Rep. Lewis is a living treasure, and one we should all attempt to emulate. That’s why I plan to work hard for the next year on voter registration and education. There is nothing more important. Nothing.

  87. 87
    👾 Martin says:

    @MikeJ: Huh. They don’t sell ammo in their theaters. How odd.

  88. 88
    Yatsuno says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): I confess I haven’t been to a movie theatre in quite some time. I might change that next weekend depending upon what all I end up doing. And if the border collies can stop eating my face off.

  89. 89
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Yatsuno:

    And if the border collies can stop eating my face off.

    Stop feeding them bath salts.

  90. 90
    raven says:

    @JPL: Yea, I drove over to the DeKalb Farmer’s Market to pay $9 a lb for shrimp for a big low country boil Sunday. Fixin to watch the Big Easy on what’s left of our porch!

  91. 91
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Yatsuno:

    It’s this stuff. They sell it in 0.9 ounce bottles at a buck apiece. Too much for a large bucket of popcorn, so I’ve been using it (the cheddar-bacon flavor) to salt my mac’n’cheese.

    ETA: http://www.kernelseasons.com/

    New the last time I went (two weeks ago) were plastic bubble lids for even distribution of butter and seasoning. Butter, season, tip and shake, repeat…I’m amazed it took someone so long to come up with this.

  92. 92
    Suzanne says:

    @raven: That Mark-and-Emmylou album is one of my favorites.

  93. 93
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    Thank you Kay. He is such an inspiration.

  94. 94
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    How many more examples of recounts instigated by Democrats do you want, you deceitful piece of shit?

    Gosh, you’re a little testy…

    And why are these recounts and lawsuits needed in the first place? Because the Dems have done zilch since the 2000 Bush/Gore debacle to get laws in place that guarantee the accuracy of the first vote. The laws as they stand allow for all sorts of shennanigans, by people and machines…by design.

    Grow up.

  95. 95
    chopper says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Grow up.

    is there one of those long German words for ‘the irony never gets old’?

  96. 96
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Way to move the goalposts.

  97. 97
    Bobby Thomson says:

    DFTMFT

  98. 98
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Bobby Thomson: It’s too late.

  99. 99
    dww44 says:

    @JPL: And your Rep is the one who told my classmate/now his constituent that Karen Handel will become the next Senator. If he’s accomplished nothing as a Rep, just maybe his prognosticating will be just as fruitful. Please deliver us from her. Going out to volunteer for Michelle Nunn like now.

  100. 100
    J R in WV says:

    Congressman Lewis is a hero, just like Martin Luther King. And the racists are still calling him that name, and still spitting on him to this very day. They wish they could stop his heroic action from changing the world, but they know they can’t.

    That makes me so happy, to know that we shall overcome! Thanks to the heroism of people like Mr. Lewis, and Mr. King, and Mrs. Rosa Parks.

  101. 101
    Glidwrith says:

    @J R in WV: I always liked the saying that was made when President Obama was elected: Rosa sat so that King could walk. King walked so that Obama could run. Obama ran so that our children could fly.

  102. 102
    fuckwit says:

    That is one righteous motherfucker. Inspiring. That’s the kind of effort and committment and sheer balls that is required to change things, to right injustice.

    Wow.

  103. 103
    BruinKid says:

    But… but… but… Rand Paul says he’s done MORE for civil rights than ANYONE else serving in the entire U.S. Congress! Could Paul be full of shit?

  104. 104

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