Trouble In Paradise

The spat between John Lewis and Donald Trump is all over the news today. It began when Mr. Lewis announced that in his view the Trump presidency was illegitimate, which is no small thing for a member of Congress to say on the eve of a presidential inauguration.

If I were Donald Trump, which I manifestly am not, I would not have dignified the remark with a response. (Or I might have offered an old Turkish saying: “The dog barks, the caravan passes.”) But solemnity and gravitas are not Mr. Trump’s modus operandi. If you pick a fight with him, you’ll get one, and he’ll be happy to roll around in the mud with you. He likes it down there.

It’s all very boring and tawdry, and I make no brief here for Mr. Trump’s behavior. But one thing that should not stand is the Left’s assumption (which we’ve seen before in this political season) that some players in this game deserve immunity from criticism on the basis of their personal history. Over the past couple of days, we’ve been hearing from every corner that anyone who criticizes the civil-rights hero John Lewis automatically forfeits the match.

Sorry, but no. John Lewis did brave things a half-century ago. He deserves respect for that, and he has received it, in spades. Indeed, he has received something more akin to canonization, to religious sanctification — which is not surprising, given the nature of the secular religion of the Left, and what it considers sacred objects.

But he has chosen to be a politician, and politics here in the final stages of the American republic is a rough-and-tumble business, a steel-cage match between competing interests, incompatible social and moral axioms — and, as we should all have expected as multiculturalism has increasingly worked its magic, tribal struggles for dominance. Had Mr. Lewis spent his dotage writing memoirs and receiving awards, he would have deserved respectful deference. But he has chosen to spend it in Congress. He’s welcome to say what he likes, of course, but if he’s going to get in the ring, he’s going to get what he gives.

Get ready for a lot more of this kind of thing. If you thought the Bush or Obama presidencies were contentious, you ain’t seen nothing yet. If the Republic as presently constituted still exists ten years from now, I’ll be amazed.

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  1. I certainly hope you will be amazed, Malcolm. But if (god forbid) you are not, then let it not happen with a whimper.

    I am reminded of a very old junior high joke about a French fighter pilot and a call girl, where the punchline has the pilot saying, “When Pierre goes down, he goes down in the flames!”

    Posted January 15, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink
  2. Whitewall says

    As I mentioned yesterday two entries below, John Lewis and others are “shield” figures for the Left. Dems always use these types to act out behind or in defense of. All are required to act indignant on cue. Trump fights back. Go on offence, stay on offence.

    Posted January 15, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink
  3. Epaminondas says

    John Lewis does not deserve our respect for anything. For the past 50 years this “icon” of civil rights has presided over the decline of black society across this nation. The murder rate among blacks, the violence, the drug use, the sheer dysfunction of black society is geometrically greater today than at any time under Jim Crow laws. And blaming whitey is no longer an option. The brutal reality of the transformation of a once lovely, law abiding Selma, Alabama into the current hell-hole it has become is a direct reflection of the kind of leadership Mr. Lewis and his ilk have provided the black community. And don’t look for any truth in Hollywood or the press. They are far too infatuated with their fantasies than with the brutal reality of what has happened to America in the past fifty years. By tweeting the truth at Lewis, Mr. Trump has ripped away the stinking bandage of political correctness and given the rest of us permission to stand up and tell the truth in public.


    Posted January 15, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink
  4. Epaminondas,

    Hear, hear.

    Posted January 15, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink
  5. He called Trump an illegitimate president; Trump should have called him a bastard congressman.

    I don’t believe in an eye for an eye. I prefer an eye and an ear for an eye.

    Posted January 15, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Permalink
  6. Malcolm says


    While I agree with you completely about the effect of “Progressive” governance on the black community, and that John Lewis deserves no respect for his part in that political action, I nevertheless respect his bravery back in the 50’s and 60’s. He put himself in harm’s way many times for the sake of his people. How many people of European descent are willing to do that today?

    Posted January 15, 2017 at 4:32 pm | Permalink
  7. Tina says

    Epaminondas, re your mention of Selma Alabama: we drive through there once a year or so in recent years, and we drive past a set of HUD cottages, now abandoned and derelict. But the brick is still sturdy. What happened I’m sure was that when the subsidies stopped coming from the Federal govt, they were proclaimed to be obsolete. It is a visible object lesson, located in that particular place and likely dating from a particular time.

    When I was very young, in the early 1960’s, we lived for a while in an otherwise nearly all-black neighborhood in OKC, in order to be close to therapy my sister needed. It was nice (or seemed so to a 4 year old), safe, and well maintained – no drugs or gangs, no liquor stores or pawn shops – and my mother was the only “single mother” we saw. We were renting a duplex, the other neighbors were, or seemed to be, mostly homeowners. We played “cowboys and Indians” with our little neighbors, and our parents took turns buying ice cream when the ice cream truck came around.

    Posted January 15, 2017 at 6:04 pm | Permalink
  8. antiquarian says

    How different would the U.S. have to be to qualify as not being “as presently constituted”? Seems to me that, yes, there’s a lot more that people dislike or even hate about the Left than the Left fondly believes, but that no one wants to lose the U.S.

    If and how the Left changes in response to all this is the really interesting thing.

    By the way, have you seen Sean Trende’s series on RealClearPolitics about how Trump won? The graphs are just fascinating. The first in the series is on the South:

    Posted January 21, 2017 at 4:45 pm | Permalink
  9. Malcolm says


    How different would the U.S. have to be to qualify as not being “as presently constituted”?

    Well, Calexit, for example.

    Posted January 21, 2017 at 11:27 pm | Permalink