Good Trouble

A year ago, after John Lewis announced a cancer diagnosis that would kill him in July, Peterr wrote a post reminding that when John Lewis first started leading this country with moral courage, he was not 80, he was 20. He reminded us to look to what new leaders will lead us forward in the days ahead.

A few weeks ago, John Lewis put out a press release announcing to all that he is undergoing treatment for stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He later sent out a tweet, lifting up one of the best lines in that press statement:

I have been in some kind of fight – for freedom, equality, basic human rights – for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.

Lewis’ summary of his life is not hyperbole. He is the last living member of the Big Six, the speakers at the 1963 March on Washington for civil rights, and now is a senior member of Congress. But it’s important to remember that John Lewis was not always old. He was just 23 when he spoke on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial as the president of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) – an organization he co-founded three years earlier at age 20 – and at 21 was one of the original Freedom Riders.

Let me repeat it again: John Lewis was not always old. He has always been a fighter for civil rights, but he has not always been old.

Last night, the Jewish, 33-year old former Lewis aide Jon Ossoff just unseated a corrupt old Georgia, David Perdue. Raphael Warnock, the 51-year old pastor from Martin Luther King Jr’s church just became the first Democrat who will represent a Confederate state in the Senate. These men won this race, in significant part, because Stacey Abrams responded to voter suppression by working for two years to defeat it.

I’ll write about all the things Trump did to sabotage Republicans in a bit. For now, it’s worth noting that one of the big factors in this win was that Kelly Loeffler attacked the Black Church, which may have contributed to astounding turnout among Black voters.

If there’s a heaven, John Lewis can look down and rest assured he passed on his torch.

20 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    A Jew and a Black, criss-crossing the countryside in the South an effort to change the world.

    I think John Lewis has seen this movie before:

    Ori’s father was in fact photographed in what later became one of the most famous pictures of the civil rights movement. It shows an African-American woman, Amelia Boynton Robinson, an important activist of the time, being carried by a group of men after having been severely beaten by police during the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” confrontation at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.
    In the forefront of the photograph is Rabbi Allan Levine, holding Robinson’s legs in his right arm and a newspaper in his left. In his mouth, a cigar and on his head, a kippa. The picture has been hanging on the wall of the family’s home in Rehovot for years.

    Lewis has to be loving this sequel.

  2. Zinsky says:

    We owe Stacey Abrams a huge debt of gratitude. I hope she runs for governor of Georgia again in 2022 – she will win. John Lewis would be so proud. I feel encouraged that progressives in America now have an opportunity to begin the healing from this horrible pandemic and from Trump’s gross mismanagement and start to build a new, more green, more just world. I feel more hopeful for my children this morning….

    • harpie says:

      STACEY ABRAMS! – Governor of Georgia

      …and to any of these GOP f’ckers who might be unhappy with THAT, you can just

    • Raven Eye says:

      I’m happy to let HER decide what her next jobs/challenges will be.

      For some reason people assume that success in one area means that they should be “promoted” into some higher position as a “reward”. Although sometimes a gentle nudge is OK, it is really up to the individual to determine where their piece fits into the larger mosaic.

  3. Zirc says:

    ” Raphael Warnock, the 51-year old pastor from Martin Luther King Jr’s church just became the first Democrat who will represent a Confederate state in the Senate.”

    I think you mean “first black democrat.”


      • Zirc says:

        Also remember that not too long ago, the whole of the old Confederacy was represented by democrats. Not necessarily the democrats we’d support today, but democrats.


  4. Jenny says:

    “Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.”
    — Lewis speaking atop the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 1, 2020

  5. harpie says:

    We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.
    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
    “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution.”
    Speech given at the National Cathedral, March 31, 1968.

    Here’s a short VIDEO that Stacey Abrams posted yesterday,
    of her telling the story about a short portion of that long arc, bending…
    or maybe being bent:
    4:58 PM · Jan 5, 2021

    Let’s finish the job today for @ReverendWarnock and @ossoff. [VIDEO]

    ABRAMS: And then you got Raphael Warnock. I’ve known Reverend Warnock for fifteen years. When he first moved to Georgia, he took over the pulpit of Martin Luther King, Jr. and he preached in the pews to a man sitting there named John Lewis. […]

    The ellipses include the story of how Warnock helped Abrams parents and their community after Hurricane Katrina VOTE in Mississippi…

    And because we live in the south, they had to have a run-off

    and “finish the job”.

  6. tinao says:

    Oh that long ark of justice…
    But what really makes me smile, is the fact cheney has a pacemaker. The ticker that just won’t quit; he has to stay and watch the destruction of his own party he so greatly contributed to, even with his letter from former Defence Secretaries. HAHAHA blow-your-face-off!

  7. Observiter says:

    There are and will continue to be sharp boulders in the water to navigate…but, WE WON !! WE WON !

    Eloquent and moving speech by Warnock.

  8. Ginevra diBenci says:

    Stacey Abrams has been working against voter suppression for a lot longer than the last two years. And we largely have her to thank for this very real Georgia miracle.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Yup. I think that is also keeping me from having a serious panic attack. Come to think of it, she may have also had some influence on why the county I live in shifted blue, the first time since Jimmy Carter. We’re often thought of as southeast GA, instead of northeast FL.

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