A lot of people are just catching up on who John Lewis is. One way to do that is to read his memoir, Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) is presented with the 2010 Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) is presented with the 2010 Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

He is a senior African American Representative to the House who was famously involved in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, along side Doctor King. If you watch any news at all you’ve seen him plenty of times. He is now also known as the latest person Donald Trump decided to denigrate and insult on Twitter.

I would like to see everyone ask their representatives in the House to treat Donald Trump’s remarks about John Lewis as they would treat similar remarks made by any other member of the House against a colleague. Generally, there are rules and you can’t do or say certain kinds of things, or you get sanctioned. I want Trump’s remarks addressed as though they were remarks on the floor made to another member. To put a point on it, since little that Republicans in Congress do relates to decorum or ethics, since to them it is all partisan politics, let’s assume the hypothetical offender is a Democrat and the remarks are made against a Republican. And when making the remarks a little bit of spit flew out and landed on the guy.

Here’s my letter to my representative, who is, sadly, a Republican. Can you please write a letter too?

Representative Erik Paulsen
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

To the Honorable Erik Paulsen,

I write to ask you to take appropriate action in response to the outrageous statements made by the Republican President Elect in regards to your colleague, the Honorable John Lewis, of Georgia.

On the 14th of January, 2017, President Elect Trump railed against Representative Lewis, and denigrated the important work he has done as a member of Congress and as a leader in the area of Civil Rights, on the very eve of our national celebrations of the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

How many of your colleagues in Congress have literally had their skulls smashed as a result of protesting racial injustice? This is what happened to young John Lewis on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965. The Congressman has dedicated his life to fight racism, injustice, and to honorably and effectively represent the people in his district.

Mr. Trump’s remarks are uncalled for, outrageous, and should not go unanswered.

I ask you to stand in defense of the Honorable Mr. Lewis on the floor of the House, to make a public statement responding to the President Elect, and to make clear that this sort of behavior is not acceptable. Alternatively, perhaps you could let me know why you would chose to remain silent, should that be your decision, or why you might support Mr. Trump’s remarks, if that is your intent.

I understand that Mr. Trump is a Republican and so are you, and Mr. Lewis is a Democrat. It is possible that the Republican Party’s position is to denigrate men like Mr. Lewis. If so, that would be a shame. If, on the other hand, you and your Republican colleagues truly represent the citizens of your respective districts, not just the narrow range of folk who voted for you, then you can not sit silently. You have to stand up and say something. As your constituent, I demand this. Do note that several of your colleagues in your party have done so.

Sincerely,

Greg Laden

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Comments

  1. #1 Obstreperous Applesauce
    January 15, 2017

    Yep. It’s worth calling out that his district is doing pretty well in contrast with Trump’s stereotypical (read racist) characterization.

    And btw, everyone should demand that Trump crawl back under his rock.

  2. #2 RickA
    United States
    January 15, 2017

    Trump is color blind.

    If you insult him, he insults you – no matter your color.

    I think John Lewis should apologise to Trump,

  3. #3 Kevin O'Neill
    January 15, 2017

    RickA voted for Trump. Need we say anymore?

  4. #4 Obstreperous Applesauce
    January 15, 2017

    So if you insult everybody some of those insults can’t be racist or otherwise tailored to the target?

    You’re a ridiculous piece of work, Rick. You’d think a lawyer could do better. You should apologize to us for being boring –and put some effort into it. So sad.

  5. #5 Wow
    January 15, 2017

    An equal opportunities shithead? Yup. Not really sure that this means he’s colour blind, though. He can still auto-hate based on colour. It just makes it harder to work out if it’s because he’s being racist or being Trump.

    This, I do not feel, is any form of positive.

    And, no, even if it were just Trump being the twat he is, even just that means they don’t and should not apologise to trump.

    Of course, they COULD “apologise”. Something like

    We are sorry that trump is such a thin-skinned precious little snowflake that someone pointing out that he may be only a shithead to SOME people rather than a shithead to everyone is so triggering for the Oompa-loompa-in-chief. We promise to never say or imply that he is only a partial toerag, and fully maintain he is 100% toerag.

  6. #6 Dean
    January 15, 2017

    RickA did not vote for Trump. He made even more of an asshole chose and voted libertarian.

    I’m still trying to figure out what fucking reason there could be for thinking Lewis should apologize to Trump, or thinking Trump is not a racist.

  7. #7 Obstreperous Applesauce
    January 15, 2017

    “I’m still trying to figure out what fucking reason there could be for thinking Lewis should apologize to Trump, or thinking Trump is not a racist.”

    He’s stirring the pot and trying to pick a fight in defense of anything reactionary. Ostensibly to make us “better people,” he’s really just trolling.

  8. #8 Brainstorms
    January 15, 2017

    I think John Lewis should apologise to Trump

    Fucking let him sue him for libel.

  9. #9 Christopher Winter
    January 15, 2017

    RickA (#2): I think John Lewis should apologise to Trump,

    You ended that with a comma. Where you planning to add more? If not, you should have done so. Something like

    I think John Lewis should apologize to Trump, right after Trump and a bunch of others apologize to President Obama for calling him an illegitimate president or insulting him in other ways.

    That could be justified as a call for a return to greater civility in government. Of course, those other apologies will never happen. Trump finally admitted, under pressure, that President Obama was born in the United States, but it was not an apology. The others — people like Arpaio, Limbaugh, Alex Jones, Roger Stone, Rep. Joe Wilson — never even got that close. Nor will they, and they are unlikely to suffer for it.

    This is where we are now. It’s one thing to criticize a president or a member of Congress. It’s quite another to lambaste those of them who belong to the opposition party with no factual basis for doing so, as Republicans have been doing on a regular basis for eight years with little or no penalty.

    This is where we are now, and turnabout would be fair play, but not very good for the nation.

    Also not good for the nation would be Democrats failing to point out every thoughtless policy the GOP congresscritters propose, every bogus claim they make, every insult they deliver.

  10. #10 Chris Ubermensch
    Minneapolis
    January 15, 2017

    No one should apologize unless they’re sorry.

  11. #11 Bernard J.
    January 15, 2017

    Trump calling Obama “an illegitimate president” has to be the height of ironies, given the machinations of Russia and some in the FBI to swing voters opinions and perhaps even their tallies.

    The rest of the world is watching Trump and the USA with dismay and horror. It’s the other train wreck in slow motion.

  12. #12 Bernard J.
    January 15, 2017

    …voters’…

  13. #13 Kevin O'Neill
    United States
    January 15, 2017

    “RickA did not vote for Trump. He made even more of an asshole chose and voted libertarian.”

    My mistake. I knew he voted dumbly – but misremembered which dumb choice it was.

  14. #14 Brainstorms
    January 16, 2017

    Trump calling Obama “an illegitimate president” has to be the height of ironies

    Actually, it’s not. Taking into consideration that Putin has been acting to put Trump into office as a compromised asset (polezni durak), and his usefulness only comes about as a consequence of his having gathered significant kompromat on Trump, Putin has been working on a long-term plan with Agent Orange…

    That long-term plan would, given how competent a KGB agent Putin was/is, naturally include how to deal with some portion of this coming to light eventually (and this was likely sooner than Putin preferred that happen).

    Once those revelations start to occur, what naturally follows is Trump’s presidency being viewed as illegitimate. How best to counter that?

    Numb the American public, and its politicians, to the “illegitimacy” concept. Then, when Trump’s illegitimacy starts coming to light, it will get laughed off more than taken as something serious to act upon.

    How to do this?

    As part of the long-range preparation of Agent Orange, Putin would want Trump to wage his “birther” illegitimacy campaign in the years leading up to his run (running at a time Putin feels has the greatest chance of success).

    Note that the concept of an illegitimate president has been sufficiently watered down in the American mind, Trump’s own true illegitimacy doesn’t seem such a serious or pressing issue. We give him a pass, discount it in our minds.

    This is the sort of thing the KGB is good at. Another coup for President Putin…

  15. #15 RickA
    United States
    January 16, 2017

    John Lewis said he didn’t consider Trump to be a legitimate president.

    However, all the intelligence report that there is no evidence of hacking of vote totals.

    So Trump is a legitimate president – because he won more electoral votes than anybody else.

    To argue that Russia hacked people’s thoughts or opinions is a pretty slippery slope.

    That argument is saying that the vote was legitimate – but that the voters were not.

    There will never be a way to prove or disprove the allegation that Russia caused people to vote for Trump instead of Clinton, or to not vote at all.

    The democrats picked the wrong candidate.

    The russian hack of the dnc simply reaffirmed peoples opinion of Clinton.

    I personally don’t think it changed any minds – just reinforced peoples opinions.

    Because Trump is a legitimate president – John Lewis should apologise for his insulting statement.

    Everybody is entitled to their opinion.

    John Lewis is entitled to his opinion about the legitimacy of the Trump presidency.

    Just as I am entitled to my opinion that he should apologise for what he said.

  16. #16 Wow
    January 16, 2017

    Morons like yourself keep bleating on “Oh, that;s your opinion!”, but when it came to Obama, you didn’t WANT to keep it to opinion, did you.

    No.

    You wanted to screw things up until there was investigation after investigation until you get the answer you wanted.

    And what the useless fuck does it mean “you are entitled to your opinion he should apologise”???? No you aren’t. And if you say “nuh uh” or want to say I can’t, then you’re telling me nobody is allowed to be of that opinion.

  17. #17 Wow
    January 16, 2017

    “So Trump is a legitimate president ”

    Uh, who says he isn’t, moron? You aren’t entitled to your opinion of REALITY.

    “To argue that Russia hacked people’s thoughts or opinions is a pretty slippery slope.”

    No to argue that is to argue for what really REALLY happened. You know, this reality thing. Not your cup of tea, we all know that.

    “That argument is saying that the vote was legitimate – but that the voters were not.”

    Nope. Try again. Something that’s supportable rather than bollocks.

    “There will never be a way to prove or disprove the allegation that Russia caused people to vote for Trump instead of Clinton, or to not vote at all.”

    Then why do you demand that it’s bad to argue it happened at all??? You clearly don’t agree with the bullshit you say.

    “The russian hack of the dnc simply reaffirmed peoples opinion of Clinton.”

    You just said that whether it affected people’s votes didn’t happen. Now you’re saying it clearly did.

    “I personally don’t think it changed any minds – just reinforced peoples opinions.”

    So people don’t use their minds when voting? Or their opinions were not informed by anything? By you, defo. By everyone? Prove it. And that claim is not something you can call “opinion”, since you’re making up the mind of everyone else. Their mind is not your opinion.

    “Everybody is entitled to their opinion.”

    Meaningless. The lorn cry of the bigoted moron unable and unwilling to defend their ideas that even they know are divorced from reality.

    “Because Trump is a legitimate president – John Lewis should apologise for his insulting statement.”

    Nope, because Trump is a complete psychopathic dickhead, he 100% deserves this and very much more insulting comment.

    The fuckwit is a public figure.

    I thought you were all up for people having and voicing their opinions, especially when government (iow a “legitimate” president Drumpf) tried to silence others.

    Clearly your aims for troll posting here on scienceblogs is NOT because you’re a staunch defender of free speech. Only the freedom of like minded morons to yourself to freely speak their toxic bullshit without consequence.

  18. #18 dean
    January 16, 2017

    I’m sure that there are millions of times when rickA demanded that the racists in the tea bagger groups or his fellow libertarians take back insulting comments about President Obama?

    No?

    Anyone surprised at rickA’s rampant hypocrisy?

  19. #19 BBD
    January 16, 2017

    Anyone surprised at rickA’s rampant hypocrisy?

    Not me. RickA is too dishonest to admit his errors about the definition of climate sensitivity and the relationship between CS and natural variability.

    It’s been a week and he *still* hasn’t mustered up the decency to act in good faith.

    The man’s a disgrace.

  20. #20 Wow
    January 16, 2017

    “man”? Try “man-child”. No wonder he supported Drumpf. Someone just like him.

  21. #21 Brainstorms
    January 16, 2017

    RickA is vying for “Hypocrite of the Year”. He’s doing very well, and has a strong chance of winning…

  22. #22 RickA
    United States
    January 16, 2017

    Wow #17 said:

    “So Trump is a legitimate president ”

    Uh, who says he isn’t, moron? You aren’t entitled to your opinion of REALITY.

    *********

    John Lewis said he isn’t.

  23. #23 Wow
    January 16, 2017

    “John Lewis said he isn’t.”

    Then what did he give to evidence this? Because you;re making all sorts of bullshit claims about what it “means”, but we only have one side of this.

    And you’re not a rational actor.

  24. #24 Frank E. Vincetn
    Hermiston, OR
    January 16, 2017

    You know what’s sad? When we think about MLK day this year, it will bring to mind that Representative John Lewis who marched with MLK calling for unity in America has decided to persuade many of the democrat congressional representatives to boycott the Presidential Inauguration. From unity to boycott and divide will be a flaw in the memory of MLK.

  25. #25 Greg Laden
    January 16, 2017

    Frank, I think very few people would agree with you on this.

  26. #26 Brainstorms
    January 16, 2017

    Frank, please explain how the endorsement of a bombastic demagogue who actively promotes every kind of dis-unitive action and attitude under the sun is supporting the kind of “unity” you speak of.

    Do you have some novel definition of “unity” that we’re not aware of??

  27. #27 dean
    United States
    January 16, 2017

    Frank, you do realize that Rev. King was not a proponent of blindly falling into line behind anyone who happened to be in a position of authority, right?

  28. #28 Bernard J.
    January 16, 2017

    Because Trump is a legitimate president – John Lewis should apologise for his insulting statement.

    By your own logic Steyne should apologise to Mann for calling his hockey stick work fraudulent.

    Especially because Mann’s work has been corroborated by his professional colleagues as being non-fraudulent, whilst the jury is still out on the degree to which Russia interferred with the proper running of the 2016 USA election.

  29. #29 Brainstorms
    January 16, 2017

    And the degree to which Russia interfered with the proper running of Donald Trump.

  30. #30 Wow
    January 17, 2017

    “By your own logic Steyne should apologise to Mann for calling his hockey stick work fraudulent. ”

    But the difference is that Mann is something a bit like government, whereas the president elect, who is already changing government staff, isn’t!

    PLEASE only glance quickly at that reason…

  31. #31 David Munson
    Iowa
    January 17, 2017

    I am generally not a big fan of forcing others to apologize. If trumP truly understands how insulting his comment was (declaring that someone who almost gave his life fighting for equal rights is all talk with no action is beyond the pale), then he should apologize for his ignorance. trumP never apologized for mocking a disabled man, for bragging about sexual assault, for calling President Obama “illegitimate”, for denigrating the appearance of multiple women, etc. I doubt he will develop any decency now and apologize for his comments about Representative Lewis.

  32. #32 Wow
    January 17, 2017

    For all his and his acolytes’ claims that he’s a straight talker and doesn’t say what he doesn’t mean, he certainly frequents the “I didn’t say that” “defence”.

    “Grabbed her by the pussy” becomes “I never said I did it, it was just ‘locker room talk’,so I never said it”.

    Spazzing out “You should look at this guy” becomes “I never dissed a disabled reporter, I’ve used the paraplegic diss against ABLED people!”.

  33. #33 Brainstorms
    January 17, 2017

    It’s called “gaslighting”. Trump is an expert at it.

  34. #34 Wow
    January 17, 2017

    Or he’s so crazy that he auto-gasses all the time.

    But the point is mostly his adherents who think that he’s a straight-talker. They follow this as valid as well.

  35. #35 Brainstorms
    January 17, 2017

    The term comes from the 1930s play “Gas Light” and the 1940s Hollywood movie version (Gaslight) in which a manipulative husband tries to unmoor his wife, played by Ingrid Bergman, by tampering with her perception of reality. He dims the gaslights and then pretends it’s only she who thinks they are flickering as the rooms grow darker.

    http://us.cnn.com/2017/01/10/opinions/donald-trump-is-gaslighting-america-ghitis/

    How much time between being gaslighted and being gassed?

  36. #36 Wow
    January 17, 2017

    Well, when he gasses, it’s the best gassing you ever seen, it’s beautiful, a YUGE rasping blow. It’ll blow your mind, it’s amazing how well the wind escapes. He’ll make America trump all the time!

  37. #37 Brainstorms
    January 17, 2017

    Um, no, I was thinking more of the Zyklon B variety of gassing. We’re “social undesirables”, remember…

    I suppose if we’re “merely lucky”, Trump will follow the lead of his Soviet handlers instead, and we’ll end up in a gulag somewhere in the cold, deserted western reaches (or N central Alaska).

  38. #38 Wow
    January 17, 2017

    Nah, Trump is a coward. He’d egg on others (and eggy fart on them) to do it, but he’s too scared to do it himself.

    Remember, he’s in it to inflate his ego and pump-and-dump the USA. Remember how he’s run his other companies. Just don’t expect to get paid at the end, but he’s not here to kill, just make a shitload of money, blame everyone else for the failure and thank himself for any accidental success.

  39. #39 Brainstorms
    January 17, 2017

    Didn’t say he’d do it. He never does anything (except tell tall tales). It’s his politburo and the assorted henchmen he’s going to appoint.

    They have axes to grind and malevolent ideologies. Trump may not be ideologically driven, but they sure are.

    I’m sure Bannon will be gleefully setting up “death panels” that the R’s were going on about 6 years ago.

  40. #40 BBD
    January 18, 2017

    #35 Brainstorms

    *Great* link. Gaslighting. Never thought of it that way (I just classed it as ‘lying’ but as a strategy gaslighting is a more complete description of what the warthog is doing.

    http://us.cnn.com/2017/01/10/opinions/donald-trump-is-gaslighting-america-ghitis/

  41. #41 Brainstorms
    January 18, 2017

    I think it comes from Putin, or is being stoked by Putin. It’s got KGB written all over it.

    Read my #14, above…