On January 14th, Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, we should be celebrating his achievements and the struggle that all people of color underwent in order to “make America great”. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for a more inclusive country that treats all people with equality and judges people by their actions, not their skin color. Martin Luther King Jr. spent his whole life facing violence and oppression directly and he refused to respond to this provocative behavior with violence.
Although Martin Luther King Jr. is unfortunately not alive today to see his amazing long-lasting effects, John Lewis is a civil rights leader who led many marches in the civil rights era and is today a representative for Georgia’s 5th congressional district. According to Smithsonianmag.com: “To date, he has racked up at least 45 arrests, most recently while protesting on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform in 2013.” John Lewis’ arrest record is a result of nonviolent civil disobedience and protestation against systematic and institutional racism and discrimination. He served as a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and helped students get involved in the movement of effective nonviolent protesting, which ultimately led to the Civil Rights Act being passed.
John Lewis appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press and stated: “I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president”. Donald Trump has been tweeting and attacking many people as of late, simply refusing to let anyone make any comments about him without a classic “Trump” response. The President-Elect has done something unprecedented, or as he would say “unpresidented”, by going after the civil rights icon John Lewis.
Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2017
mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2017
It is quite shocking to see the President-Elect go after the civil rights icon who has obviously done more than he has ever imagined doing. Is Donald Trump justified to make these claims? Are these claims, at the very least, accurate?
After some analysis and fact-checking, the results come out almost completely false, as might be expected for a Donald Trump statement. First of all, John Lewis is the representative of the 5th congressional district of Georgia in which, according to census.gov, 87.6% of the population over 25 have a high school diploma and 40.6% have a bachelor’s degree from a college. According to an AJC.com article: “An Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of that data found Atlanta’s violent crime rate — one crime per 1,120 residents — landed Atlanta at No. 14 nationally among cities with populations of more than 200,000. However, the analysis also found that not all major American cities had data in the report — for instance, Charlotte, N.C., often cited as one of Atlanta’s closest rivals, was not included, nor were New York City or Cleveland, Ohio”. Is John Lewis’ 5th district actually crime-infested? No, deeming the congressional district as “crime infested” is simply not accurate because it doesn’t even make the top 10 on the list, while there are exemptions of big cities in the list.
Is Donald Trump’s comment about the civil rights icon John Lewis being “all talk, talk, talk – no action or results” accurate or fair? Well, let’s dissect what the two have done to impact society and the lives of other human beings and rights of others.
In 1965, Donald Trump received five deferments from the draft of the Vietnam War, four of them being for education and one of them for a bone spur diagnosis. Trump recently was unable to respond to the question of which foot he had a bone spur in, and said that they should just look into the records to figure it out because he seemingly could not remember. He also claimed that he got a very high number and he was watching the numbers go while he was at Wharton School of Finance, but the draft happened 18 months after he graduated from the school. He not only was such a coward that he got multiple different deferments for different reasons, which brings up concerns about the truth of the bone spur diagnosis as the evidence for it is minimal, but he also lied about the reason why he didn’t get into the draft.
What was John Lewis doing in 1965? He was marching from Selma to Alabama, during which the police fiercely attacked the 600 marchers, which resulted in John Lewis suffering a skull fracture. This march resulted in 58 people being treated at the hospital. The name that day became called was “bloody sunday”.
Donald Trump’s criticism of John Lewis is not only despicable but also not merited or accurate in any way. While Donald Trump was enjoying himself at Wharton Financial School and living a privileged existence because of his very wealthy father, John Lewis was out there on the streets directly combating institutional and systematic racism, faced with violence and never responding with violence in return. John Lewis was fighting to improve the rights of African Americans in America and to create a system of true equality, regardless of the risks of near death that he faced from the violence of the police force and racist people. Donald Trump was a coward who dodged the draft and had no principled stance on the war. This was evident with his criticism of John McCain during the Republican primary, discussing McCain’s time as a POW in Vietnam. “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” Donald Trump is a hypocrite who has no right to criticize civil rights icon John Lewis.