Apparently John Lewis doesn’t know the history of Africans and their descendants in America. As a result of their anger over Lewis calling Trump an “illegitimate” president, many white male Republicans are coming out of the woodwork to try their hand at putting Lewis in his place. The latest to spew stupidity and set race relations back hundreds of years is Maine’s Republican Governor, John Paul LePage.
LePage decided to take to the airwaves Tuesday to give Lewis a brief history lesson. In an interview on George Hale’s and Ric Tyler’s WVOM radio show, LePage stepped further out of line than any of his Republican counterparts have thus far. CNN reports that LePage remarked:
‘How about John Lewis last week? Criticizing the president. You know, I will just say this. John Lewis ought to look at history. It was Abraham Lincoln that freed the slaves. It was Rutherford B. Hayes and Ulysses S. Grant that fought against Jim Crow laws. A simple “thank you” would suffice.’
Has he lost his mind? Lincoln freed the slaves for political and financial gain. Lincoln was not vocal against the horrible conditions under which slaves were brought to America or how they were treated by their owners. Let’s not rush to suggest that brown people in America should bow down to him with gratitude.
Taking nothing away from Hayes, he too was no messiah for slaves. It has been noted that he stood a lot to gain from his work as an abolitionist and none of those gains were strictly about the slaves.
Grant owned slaves. What is it that he needs to be thanked for?
The fact that there is a brutal history of slavery in this country is reason enough for no one to brag about slaves being freed, or affiliating that “freedom” with a certain party. This is especially true since the Republican party that “freed” the slaves is a far cry from the Trump-loving hate-mongers who have surfaced in the last 16 months.
LePage is no stranger to speaking like a master yelling from the plantation house. He has a history of endorsing culturally insensitive policies like racial profiling. There was a vocal outcry from people (mainly his own party) calling for LePage’s resignation last year. The Washington Post reported that LePage justified the shooting of brown males saying:
‘You’ve been in uniform? You shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy and the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority of people coming in, are people of color or people of Hispanic origin.’
You read that correctly: The enemy is brown, Latino/a and Hispanic people. If you’re in uniform, you identify and shoot them.
Let’s do this, let’s call a racist a racist. LePage’s racist comments go deeper. In January 2016 the Portland Press Herald reported that while talking about Maine’s heroine problem, LePage remarked:
‘Guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty come from New York and Connecticut to sell their heroin in Maine. Half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave. It’s a real sad thing because then we have another issue.’
“Issue?” One can only glean that the “issue” LePage is referring to is white women being pregnant by and giving birth to babies of mixed-ethnicity. Babies are “issues,” now?
Lewis and other people of color in America don’t need to thank anyone. LePage and the rest of Trump’s flunkies need to shut their ignorant mouths, because at this juncture, the level of disrespect they’ve shown to John Lewis and others who can relate to and/or are products of the movement, is completely unacceptable.
Birds of a feather flock together; Trump definitely keeps company that is like him. Listen to LePage bully a reporter who called him a racist for LePage’s remarks above:
Featured image via Getty/Portland Press Herald/Contributor