CHARLOTTE, NC — There’s mixed reaction across the country this morning as President-Elect Donald Trump’s inauguration gets closer. So far, more than 50 democratic lawmakers are boycotting his inauguration ceremony. The wave of people not attending has grown since civil-rights icon Congressman John Lewis announced Friday he was boycotting the event. WCCB political contributor Mary C. Curtis weighs in.
Donald Trump is about to become president of the United States of America. But he isn’t acting like it. He tweets in scatter-shot fashion, noticing every real and perceived slight and attacking. Doesn’t he realize that it is politically smart for any leader to think and act strategically, always anticipating many moves ahead, like a master chess player?
The congressman’s statements to the BBC were shocking and the last thing needed in a taut atmosphere already filled with hurt. Perhaps a visit to the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture could help?
When the face of your opposition on any issue is John Lewis, you need to choose your words carefully: “Publicity stunt” probably should not be the go-to phrase.
Congressman Lewis, a Democrat representing Georgia, brings with him a moral gravity because of his courageous place in the country’s progress toward equality.
But it is very clear in the response of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan to the sit-in on the floor of the House over an impasse in gun control legislation that the Republican from Wisconsin is not a student of history – that of his esteemed and respected colleague, his country or his own party.
My sister remembers the day – and one particular moment. To get to the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 1963, Joan Curtis did not have far to travel. But as part of the contingent from the Civic Interest Group (CIG), a Baltimore-based civil rights group affiliated with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), she realized how big a step it was and how important that day could be.
“It was a bright, sunny summer day and I was happy to be there, and I was 18 and I was smiling and everything,” Joan recently recalled. Her assignment was to stand in front of a tent, handing out signs as fast as they were being made for travelers who wanted to carry slogans such as “We Shall Overcome” as they filled every spot on the National Mall.
There was a woman from the Midwest – a white woman – with her son, a little boy about 10 years old. She had a camera to make home movies, and after Joan handed her a sign, the woman had a request. “Look at you, with that smile on your face,” my sister remembered her saying. “I want to get that on my movie camera. Could you do that again, walk back and hand me that sign?”
When I spoke with my sister, prodding her memories of the day, she said that the mother and son from the Midwest were indicative of the diversity of the day’s crowd and wondered if the Joan of 1963, a smiling freshman from Morgan State, lives on in a 50-year-old movie clip. Does that boy, who would be around 60 now, watch it to bring back memories of his own?
In fitting tribute to his leadership in the 1965 march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., and his lifelong commitment to civil rights, U.S. Rep. John Lewis will once again be in the lead March 3, in the annual commemoration of that pivotal walk. Among the many following this Sunday will be Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by his wife. They also plan to attend the Martin and Coretta King Unity Brunch, according to White House and Selma officials.
Biden built on his support from many African-American voters as he has played a strong No. 2 to the first African-American president. At the July 2012 NAACP convention where Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney received a decidedly mixed reaction for comments disparaging, among other things, “Obamacare,” Biden left the audience wanting more.
But will black voters, particularly the black women who knocked on doors and made the phone calls in 2008 and 2012, be there for Biden if he decides to run in 2016? And if Hillary Clinton, after enjoying her post Secretary of State down time, decides to capitalize on her current front-runner status, how will her candidacy affect Biden’s support?