John Lewis Compares Segregationist Violence to Voter ID Laws

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 6 2012 7:09 PM

John Lewis Compares Segregationist Violence to Voter ID Laws

CHARLOTTE -- The pre-prime time hours of the DNC are for sentiments that won't help the campaign get over the hump in Hamilton County, or Loudon County, or Drudge. Rep. John Lewis went first, telling a story he has told countless times -- that grabs at your guts every time you hear it. He was beaten by segregationists. He suffered permanent damage, a dent in his skull. And he told of a man who came to see him, to apologize for the beating.

"This man and I don’t want to go back!" said Lewis. We want to move forward!"

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He was comparing Jim Crow violence to voter ID laws, and doing it in some detail. "They are changing the rules," cutting polling hours and imposing requirements intended to suppress the vote. The Republican leader in the Pennsylvania House even bragged that his state’s new voter ID law is ‘gonna allow Gov. Romney to win the state.’ That’s not right, that’s not fair and that is not just."

Not long after that, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told the crowd that he'd gotten into college via "affirmative action." It's a scary thought that conservatives dare not even utter when they talk about Barack Obama. Hell, Harvey Ganntt -- demolished in 1990 after Sen. Jesse Helms ran the "hands" ad, which attacking him for supporting affirmative action -- didn't even go there. And this was cherry-topped by a speech from openly gay U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin, and by Zach Wahls, who'd become Internet famous after he told an Iowa town hall meeting about his two moms.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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