Perhaps you’ve seen today’s story of the bold and truthful words of Representative John Lewis of Georgia. The veteran of the Civil Rights Movement called out the McCain-Palin campaign for their recent tactics of fostering fear and hatred.
Here’s the full text of his statement today. [As a sidenote, McCain waved his enormous white privilege wand almost immediately, condemning Lewis and demanding the Obama camp do the same. True to the power Lewis analyzes, the Obama campaign issued its own press release doing just that.]
Rep. John Lewis Responds to Increasing Hostility of McCain-Palin Campaign
As one who was a victim of violence and hate during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, I am deeply disturbed by the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign. What I am seeing today reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse.
During another period, in the not too distant past, there was a governor of the state of Alabama named George Wallace who also became a presidential candidate. George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who only desired to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed one Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama.
As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Governor Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all. They are playing a very dangerous game that disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy. We can do better. The American people deserve better.
Here is the full text of McCain’s response. He gets to take the position that Lewis’ analysis is divisive and inappropriate. Privilege!
Statement By John McCain
October 11, 2008
ARLINGTON, VA — U.S. Senator John McCain today issued the following statement:
Congressman John Lewis’ comments represent a character attack against Governor Sarah Palin and me that is shocking and beyond the pale. The notion that legitimate criticism of Senator Obama’s record and positions could be compared to Governor George Wallace, his segregationist policies and the violence he provoked is unacceptable and has no place in this campaign. I am saddened that John Lewis, a man I’ve always admired, would make such a brazen and baseless attack on my character and the character of the thousands of hardworking Americans who come to our events to cheer for the kind of reform that will put America on the right track.
I call on Senator Obama to immediately and personally repudiate these outrageous and divisive comments that are so clearly designed to shut down debate 24 days before the election. Our country must return to the important debate about the path forward for America.