Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock had a powerful message for those issuing platitudes about the newly-deceased. Rep. John Lewis: Don’t “remember him and dismember” what he stood for.
Lewis, of course, has been on the front lines of civil rights activism since his youth (when he was beaten during the Civil Rights era) and through the Black Lives Matter demonstrations that erupted after the killing of George Floyd.
This morning, Joy Reid called out the lip service being paid to Lewis by Republicans such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. There are “very lovely statements, written probably by staff,” Reid said pointedly, “lauding this man while they are also continuing to fight against voting rights.”
Warnock, who is a candidate for a Senate seat from Georgia and the senior pastor of the iconic Ebenezer Baptist Church, took it from there:
You cannot honor John Lewis while at the same time standing in the way of voting rights. This was what his life was all about and so I know that there are folk who are talking about renaming the [Edmund Pettus] bridge and we ought to do that. He definitely deserves it.
But I want us to think about how John Lewis would consider the issue. For him, it was never about him. It was about the cause. And so we would make a mistake if we renamed the bridge but kept -- but didn't do the things we need to do to protect voting rights. We ought to strengthen the Voting Rights Act and reauthorize it.
This used to be a bipartisan issue and sadly, John Lewis, the patron saint of voting rights, hailed from a state that is ground zero for voter suppression.
And so we've got to push against that in the coming months. We've got to fight for the integrity of our democracy with strength and vigor and commitment that he brought to the fight. That's the best way for us to honor john lewis.
I think another great way to honor Lewis would be to elect Rev. Warnock to the U.S. Senate.