On Thursday, mourners gathered in Atlanta to honor the life of the late Georgia Congressman John Lewis, a longtime fighter for civil rights who passed away last week after a battle with cancer. Former President Barack Obama was among those who spoke at the event, and in his remarks, he delivered a stern condemnation of those today who continue to abuse their power for their own self-gain, and Obama called on observers to continue the fight against this bigotry and violence.
One of the many high-profile parts of Lewis’s activism was his part in the 1965 protest that was violently attacked by Alabama authorities in an incident that came to be known as “Bloody Sunday.” Referencing racist figures from recent American history who helped lead the charge for that kind of violence, Obama said:
‘Bull Connor may be gone, but today we witness with our own eyes police officers kneeling on the necks of Black Americans. George Wallace may be gone, but we can witness our federal government sending agents to use tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators. We may no longer have to guess the number of jelly beans in a jar in order to cast a ballot, but even as we sit here, there are those in power who are doing their darnedest to discourage people from voting by closing polling locations and targeting minorities and students with restrictive ID laws and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision, even undermining the postal service in the run-up to an election that’s going to be dependent on mail-in ballots, so people don’t get sick.’
Obama subsequently noted that Lewis “devoted his time on this earth to fighting the very attacks on democracy and what’s best in America that we’re seeing circulate right now,” adding:
‘[Lewis] knew that every single one of us has a God-given power, and that the fate of this democracy depends on how we use it.’
Watch some of Obama’s comments below:
Former President Obama: "Today we witness with our own eyes police officers kneeling on the necks of Black Americans. George Wallace may be gone, but we can witness our federal gov't sending agents to use tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators” https://t.co/u1nsPN51AP pic.twitter.com/D9ZzIbbR3y
— ABC News (@ABC) July 30, 2020
As Obama notes, the Trump-appointed Postmaster General has recently been spearheading policy changes at the post office that could drag down the delivery of mail, which is a crucial service amidst the lead-up to a general election that’s unfolding amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, which could make venturing to at least some in-person polling places dangerous.
Some of the policy changes include the end — for now — of overtime work and a demand that “if the plants run late, they will keep the mail for the next day.” The changes, according to Mark Dimondstein, who serves as president of the American Postal Workers Union, “are happening because there’s a White House agenda to privatize and sell off the public Postal Service,” as he put it to Forbes.
Let’s be clear: Trump does not have the ability to delay the election. Our elections are enshrined in the Constitution. The Constitution also says that if the date of the election is to be changed, it must be changed by Congress. https://t.co/WzVgBQqdSo
— Rep. Nadler (@RepJerryNadler) July 30, 2020
On the very same day of Obama’s speech, Trump continued his attacks on election integrity. He tweeted:
‘With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???’
His claims about widespread mail-in voting fraud are lies, and it would be illegal for him to attempt to delay the election, but that does not mean that he won’t try anyway.
Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution states:
“The Congress may determine the Time of choosing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.” https://t.co/NIaa7mQVnn
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 30, 2020