Long arc of history guides John Lewis in his call for impeachment inquiry

OPINION — No one can accuse Rep. John Lewis of lacking patience. The Georgia Democrat showed plenty, as well as steely resolve, as he changed millions of minds — and history — over a life spent working for equal rights for all. So when he speaks, especially about justice, a cause from which he has never wavered, all would do well to listen.

Lewis was not the only voice raised this week, as all sides raced to place a political frame on the narrative of the undisputed fact that a U.S. president asked a foreign leader to work with him and for him to smear a political opponent, perhaps with military aid in the balance. “I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it,” President Donald Trump said, according to a transcript of the conversation based on notes. He also wanted to rope in his personal lawyer and the attorney general, who, by the way, works for the American people, not Trump.

No direct quid pro quo but plenty of bread crumbs leading to the conclusion that a country dependent on funds to deal with, among other things, an extremely aggressive Russian neighbor, better pay attention.

Pelosi Announces Impeachment Inquiry into Trump

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In the middle of a political firestorm involving a telephone call between President Trump and the president of Ukraine, there came a moment of bipartisan agreement this week. Members of the Senate voted unanimously favoring a resolution calling for a whistleblower complaint involving Trump to be turned over to congressional intelligence committees. This comes as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, after holding off for many months, has announced her support to move toward a formal impeachment inquiry into the president because of the whistleblower complaint. The president has promised the release of a transcript of his July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

An American credo: Justice for some, especially the four-legged

Derby on May 4. (Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

OPINION — From the current administration’s indifference to congressional requests for information on the Mueller report to its hardening policies restricting those seeking asylum from violent homelands, one would think Donald Trump and company cared little for justice. But the president did manage to speak out recently in support of one particular victim he felt was wronged.

In a signature tweet, he said: “The Kentuky Derby decision was not a good one.” (He has since corrected the spelling to “Kentucky.”) “It was a rough and tumble race on a wet and sloppy track, actually, a beautiful thing to watch. Only in these days of political correctness could such an overturn occur. The best horse did NOT win the Kentucky Derby — not even close!”

Yes, Donald Trump reacted in outrage, in defense of a horse.

A half-century after Selma, the ‘black friend’ defense is going strong

OPINION — On a “Meet the Press” appearance a few weeks ago, Ohio Democrat and maybe presidential hopeful Sen. Sherrod Brown was commenting on that slam-bang start to Black History Month, Virginia officials in blackface, when he said, “This country hasn’t dealt well with issues of race. We have a president who’s a racist.” That led host Chuck Todd to ask Brown if he believed Donald Trump was a racist “in his heart,” to which Brown answered, “Well, I don’t know what ‘in his heart’ means.”

Exactly.

What’s in someone’s heart matters not at all when there is a long list of well-documented racist acts that have affected the lives of actual human beings. Brown mentioned a few off the top of his head; few sentient beings would have had trouble doing the same.

Opinion: Will Move to Purge Ohio Voting Rolls Kickstart Congressional Action?

Fifty-two years ago this week, John Lewis of Georgia was a young activist, not the Democratic congressman he is today. Yet he got a warmer welcome from the then-president of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, than from today’s occupant of the White House.

On the Twitter feed of the longtime member of the U.S. House of Representatives, you can see a picture celebrating that time a few decades ago, when, with Democratic and Republican support, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed and then signed.

Lewis was one of those who suffered arrests and shed blood to make it so. You might think that at 77 years of age, he has earned the right to relax just a little. But instead of celebrating progress made, he has to ignore occasional insults from President Donald Trump and some of his congressional colleagues, while refighting a version of that same fight for voting rights.

Every day there is that reminder, whether it is a Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, stacked with a rogue’s gallery of folks with a history of searching for nonexistent hordes of fraudulent voters, or news that Trump’s Justice Department has joined Ohio’s campaign to purge its voter rolls.

How many in Congress will stand with their colleague and other leaders to strengthen rather than dilute the power of that defining law from 52 years ago? How many will stand with a president who asked minority communities to support him — “what do you have to lose” was both question and challenge — with a grab bag of policies that illustrates exactly what his statements meant?

The Boycott and President-Elect Donald Trump’s Inauguration

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.

What Donald Trump Should Have Said to a Civil Rights Icon

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?

Open Letter to My Congressman, Robert Pittenger: No, We Don’t Hate White People

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?

The GOP’s Civil Rights Amnesia

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.

‘You knew things would be different’: How the March changed one family

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?