Thank you, John Lewis

What is Your Blood Price?

Transcript of a speech by U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta on the Capitol Steps, Oct. 4, 2017

This congress has failed the American people.

After New Town and Aurora, after Charleston and Orlando, now Las Vegas, how many more must die? A hundred? A thousand? Ten thousand? A million? What is your blood price? How many more must die? How many mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and dad daughters, husband and wives? Tell me what. Tell me and tell us.

What is the number? How many more dead bodies will it take to wake up this Congress?

But there’s no number, is there? There’s no amount of blood or pain or death or suffering? What will move this Congress to act?

We hold moments of silence and vigils. We offer our thought and prayers. But it is all a show, a placeholder, until people forget and this Congress can move on rolling back restrictions on silencers or making it easier for mentally ill to purchase weapons.

Don’t tell me otherwise. I’ve been around too long. I lost colleagues in Mississippi and Alabama to gun violence. We lost Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to a man with a rifle. We lost Senator Robert Kennedy to a man with a handgun. I’ve seen too many gun deaths and I am here to say right now — this must stop and it must stop now!

We were elected to lead. We were elected to be headlight and not a tail light. I have said to all of you,  to all of my colleagues on the other side — we must have raw courage to make a down payment on any gun violence in America. We can no longer wait. We can no longer be patient. If there was a fire we would bring water. If this was a virus we would send medicine. if this was storm we would give shelter. But this is about guns and so once more this Congress does nothing

Don’t tell me , don’t tell me we need mental health reform when you won’t provide every American access to mental health care. Don’t tell me it’s about protecting the Second Amendment when you won’t stand up for the First Amendment. Don’t tell me this is about anything other than greed, greed money and fear.

I say to each one of us, to all of the members of the Congress — have courage; be unafraid; do your job. Bring common sense gun control legislation to a vote.

Transcript by David Rushing from the following source:

Posted Oct. 13, 2017

Thank You, Mr. Lewis

John Lewis is Alabama's gift to American Democracy. Rather than confirm this opinion on my own, the Georgia congressman spoke for himself (and the rest of us as well), which he has done so eloquently throughout his life, in a short speech he gave on Friday, March 24 on the floor of the house in opposition of the GOP's failed push to approve TrumpCare

Here is the text:

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend for yielding.  Mr. Speaker, I rise to oppose this bill. 

As elected representatives, we have a mission, an obligation, and a mandate to fight for each and every American.  I ask you, Mr. Speaker, who will stand for the American people?  Who will speak up for those who have been left out and left behind?

Mr. Speaker, I have said it time and time again -- health care is a right.   It is not a privilege reserved for a wealthy few.  For what does it profit this body to pass this bill and lose our soul? This bill is a shame.  It is a disgrace.  

Mr. Speaker, today my heart breaks for the disabled, for women, for seniors, and working families.  My heart aches for those who are living paycheck-to-paycheck.  My heart mourns for innocent, little children whose very life depends on if their families can pay the bills. This is the right and wrong of it.  This is the heart and soul of the matter. We cannot abandon our principles. Mr. Speaker, we cannot forget our values.  

I have fought too hard and too long to back down now.  I will fight any bill that turns the clock back to a darker time.  I will fight every single attempt to turn a deaf ear, a blind eye, and a cold shoulder to the sick, to our seniors, and to working families.  Mr. Speaker, I will fight every day, every hour, every minute, and every second.  I will oppose this bill with every breath and every bone in my body.

We must not give up.  We cannot – I will not -- give in.  Not today, not tomorrow, and never ever.  On this bill, there is only one option – and that option is to vote NO.  You can do better.  Mr. Speaker, you must do better.   Vote no on this bill!

Mr. Lewis spoke for us all in this historic speech that should shake the very souls of all people of good will and Christian sentiment. Though he represents a Georgia district, he spoke especially for impoverished Sunflower County, one of the nation’s poorest, whose residents will suffer mightily should the machinations of the cold-hearted, greedy minions of Mammon prevail.

There also are many Sunflower Countians who stood along side him and others like him during the decades-long battle in the continuing struggle for inclusive democracy. At 78 he continues the fight. He rests not on the laurels he so richly deserves. Shall we rest as generations of hard-won social progress are whittled away?  Or shall we join him once again?

David Rushing, chairman, Sunflower County Democratic Executive Committee.

Posted March 24, 2017, revised March 27