Raising the Standard at UGA since 2013.

The President vs. The Civil Rights Icon

Photo credit to Gage Skidmore and Wikipedia

One was born to a wealthy New York real estate developer and rose to prominence first as a businessman, then as a reality TV star. The other was born to sharecroppers in Jim Crow-era Alabama and rose to prominence as a leader of the Civil Rights Movement. Both used their prominence to rise to seats of power in Washington, DC, the former at the White House, the latter in the House of Representatives.

Donald Trump managed to become an electrifying candidate quickly, using his existing fame as a foundation to propel himself to the top of the Republican field. Over the year-and-a-half that followed, Trump continued to speak his mind with an utter disregard for political correctness. In doing so, he empowered the average American, paving the way for the Republican Party to not only take the White House but also retain comfortable majorities in both houses of Congress.

Throughout his campaign, Trump’s rhetoric constantly enraged the left. Furthermore, his election, though welcomed by many Americans, only fueled the bitter fire of elitist division that burns deep within the very core of the Democratic Party.

For weeks leading up to the election, Hillary Clinton and the left had lectured Trump, saying that he could not be a sore loser and cry foul when Clinton won the election in a landslide; then disaster struck and their roles flipped. Trump reigned victorious with more electoral votes than any GOP President since George H. W. Bush in 1988, providing one of the greatest electoral upsets in American history. Stunned and upset, the left moved to set a record for exhibiting its own hypocrisy: the very next day, claims began of voter fraud in Wisconsin and Michigan, claims which Clinton failed to deny.

Following vote recounts, claims of voter irregularities were proved wrong and thereby deemed a mere desperate attempt of the left.

This counterproductive discrepancy only furthered the outrage from the left, who exhibited a classless willingness to do anything they could to discredit the Trump Administration before his team stepped foot into the White House. In the months following Clinton’s surprise loss, no political jab could be too low and no baseless accusation too untenable for the divided Democrats.

Enter Congressman John Lewis.

First elected to Congress in 1986, Lewis represents Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District, and in thirty years has missed almost seven percent of roll call votes in the Senate (compared to the average of two percent), yet is considered by liberals to be the moral compass of the House of Representatives.

In recent years, Lewis has been notable more for his protests than for anything else. In the day’s leading up to Trump’s Inauguration, Lewis announced that he would not attend, as he feels that Trump is an illegitimate president due to alleged Russian actions to rig the election in Trump’s favor, adding that it would be the first inauguration he had not attended since entering Congress in 1987.

Lewis was quickly caught in a lie, as the record clearly indicates that he also skipped George W. Bush’s first inauguration because he similarly believed that Bush was not a legitimately elected President.

Making matters worse for Lewis was Trump’s infamous Twitter account, through which Trump stated that Lewis should focus more on his district, claiming it to be “falling apart” and “crime infested.”

This pair of tweets received more backlash than Trump’s tweets normally do. However, Trump’s observations proved not entirely wrong.

The Fifth District, though not as broken as Trump’s tweets might lead one to believe, encompasses all of downtown Atlanta, including areas such as College Park and Buckhead, making it a district with extreme disparities in wealth and poverty, as well as crime and security.

With the inauguration now behind us, both Trump and Lewis now reside in the offices to which they were elected. The ball is now squarely in Lewis’s court, and it is up to him to decide whether he wishes to continue to act much the way Trump has been known to act, or whether he will act like the Civil Rights icon he is and accept the fact that Donald J. Trump is President of the United States for the next four years. Unfortunately, the way Lewis blew off Jesse Watters indicates that he is not prepared to move on and work with the new administration. Perhaps Lewis will eventually get over his hurt feelings and try to work with the President and his majority party in Congress in order to bring about much-needed change. Change that will benefit all Americans, including Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District.

However, until the Democrats can accept that Lewis is not untouchable strictly by virtue of having marched with Dr. King and that Republicans do not have a perpetually racist agenda, it seems unlikely that Lewis will modify his behavior and act like the Civil Rights icon that he undeniably is.

— Christopher Lipscomb is a freshman studying international affairs. He is a regular contributor to THE ARCH CONSERVATIVE.

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