We have all seen those situations, particularly in professional sports, where a great warrior continues to play well beyond his prime and becomes more of a liability than an asset to the team. But that player is allowed to continue due to past glory and fan appreciation. It’s a hard thing to see someone in decline and few want to have the frank conversation with that player that it is time to move on to other things. I feel this is the situation with Congressman John Lewis, but I’m sure few will acknowledge that his time has come and gone. As someone who grew up in the south (Richmond, VA, to be specific), and spent several years living in Atlanta, I have a great respect and admiration for John Lewis. During the civil rights years, he was a courageous warrior for justice and I owe him a debt of gratitude for the opportunities I enjoy today.
Unlike professional sports, being a politician is a career that can last a lifetime, but what we see all too often is that as culture changes and situations change, many politicians don’t adjust to changing dynamics in society. And John Lewis, I feel, is one of those people stuck in the past who sees the exact same problems today that he saw five decades ago. He is loath to acknowledge that the issues black Americans face today are fundamentally different from the issues faced in 1964 when landmark Civil Rights legislation was passed. And he is joined by many other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, most who depend on gerrymandered districts to stay in office since they can’t attract whites, that simply aren’t up to speed on the problems facing blacks today, problems primarily caused by the liberal progressive policies they promote. So while Lewis and others have done some great things in the past, this does not absolve them of the responsibility to make things better for their constituencies in the present.
Recently, John Lewis weighed in on the election of Donald Trump, charging that Trump is not a “legitimate” President-elect due to meddling by Russians, though Lewis has no legitimate proof himself of this charge. Not to be outdone, and I believe ill-advised, Trump tweeted his disapproval of John Lewis stating that Lewis’s district, the Fifth Congressional District of Georgia, is in bad shape and Lewis is all talk instead of doing something to help his district. Lewis’s district, which is 58% black, is made up of downtown Atlanta and some suburban areas to the south and west. Statistics show the median household income is $48,000, which is $8,000 lower than the national median. About one in six families live in poverty, as opposed to the national rate of one in nine. Unemployment is at a whopping 8.2 percent, while the national average is at 4.7 percent. And as with other major cities across the country, there has been a marked uptick in homicides, placing Atlanta as one of the top 25 murder capitals. So Trump, while unartful as he is wont, has a point that Lewis’s district is hurting both economically and criminally.
In Atlanta, like most urban areas with large black populations, we see high unemployment, poverty, and crime. Almost all of these urban areas are run by Democrats, and in this case by Mayor Kasim Reed. They call themselves progressives, but we have seen very little real progress in black urban areas. Even though Atlanta is one of the brighter spots based on its long history of black entrepreneurship and institutions, it has not been immune to liberal progressive policies and the statistics bear this out even in this great city. With politicians such as Lewis and Reed at the helm, I don’t expect things to get much better, because these people have no new ideas to adjust to the current realities of black America. It is no longer racial discrimination holding blacks down. It’s not cops hunting down black men as Lewis and the CBC falsely argue. It is the breakdown of the black family and the concomitant dependency on government, in lieu of forward thinking economic policies that promote economic upward mobility.