By Glynn Wilson –
MOBILE, Ala. — It felt like history was being made to many in the audience Friday night when Georgia Congressman John Lewis joined Doug Jones on the campaign trail and urged people to exercise their hard fought right to vote.
When I asked Levon Manzie, a member of the Mobile City Council for example, if it felt like history was being made, he said yes (see video).
“I absolutely believe it,” he said. “I believe the momentum is going on Doug Jones’ side. I believe people want civilized, rational, compassionate representation. I’m looking forward to his victory on December 12.”
After being introduced as his hero by attorney Doug Jones, Lewis talked about what’s going on in Washington with Republicans trying to pass “a bad tax bill.” He then launched into a passionate endorsement of Jones, who is known for prosecuting two members of the Ku Klux Klan for murder as a U.S. attorney in the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.
“I believe health care is a right,” Lewis said. “The next United States Senator from Alabama, Doug Jones, believes that too.”
Lewis walked out into the crowd at the William Bill Clark Family Life Center and told them they were on the verge of making history, if they would work as hard as they can to get people out to vote.
“You are going to send a message (to Washington) the same way Virginia sent a message (on Tuesday),” Lewis said.
Based in large part on historic levels of voter turnout, especially by women, Virginia just elected another Democrat as governor over a strong Republican opponent.
“Did you see what those Democratic women did in Virginia?” Lewis asked. “They stood in the rain and voted (and elected a Democrat).”
Lewis said Jones would fight for all the people of Alabama.
“He will never let you down and he will never embarrass you,” Lewis said.
Jones’ opponent in the special election, set for December 12, is former judge Roy Moore, who is now on the defensive making national news for having to defend himself from charges of being a sexual predator with minors.
Alabama just lost one Republican governor in large measure due to financial shenanigans related to a relationship of a sexual nature with a political aide. In April, Governor Robert Bentley had to resign to avoid impeachment and jail time.
Lewis talked about giving his own blood in the cause of voting rights in 1965 when he was clubbed by an Alabama State Trooper on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.
“I almost died on that bridge,” he said. “The vote is precious. In a democratic society such as ours it’s almost sacred. It is the most powerful, non-violent instrument or tool we have, and we must use it.”
Lewis told the crowd of more than 200 that while they are celebrating Thanksgiving and getting ready for Christmas, they must take the time to do one thing.
“We’ve got to go out and get people to vote like they’ve never voted before,” he said, to a huge cheer from the audience, many of them African Americans.
“We need help in Washington,” Lewis urged. “Make Doug Jones the next Senator from Alabama. Send this young man to the Capitol. Doug Jones has a heart. He will work on behalf of all the people and no one will be left out and left behind.”
Quoting a labor leader and Martin Luther King, Jr., Lewis said: “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
“It doesn’t matter whether we are black or white, Latino, African American or Native American, we are one people, one family, one house,” he said.
He urged everyone in attendance not to be silent over the next few days and to get involved in the get out the vote effort, since the black vote is critical to the success of the Jones campaign.
“You’ve got to get out there, knock on doors, and tell everybody to get out and vote,” he said. “We need Doug Jones in the United States Senate. Let’s be prepared to march to the ballot box.”
He also urged them to use social media to like and share the important links in the effort.
“Get out there and give it everything you have,” he said. “Tell your children to tell their teachers to go vote. Ministers here and other elected officials, tell the people to go and vote. Do it for America. Do it for our children. Do it for our senior citizens. Do it for the disabled.”
In his remarks before introducing Lewis, Doug Jones made the case why he is the one who can make common ground “and not try to divide us” with others on both sides of the political aisle in Washington, to get things done and make government work again for the people.
He said in traveling all over the state and talking to Republicans and independents as well as Democrats, people are listening to him and believe he is the candidate who can find that common ground.
“They know that with Doug Jones they will have somebody who will listen to them, talk to them, listen to their concerns, understand those concerns, and try to find common ground,” he said. “That’s what good candidates do. That’s what good leaders do. And it’s not the kind of leadership we’ve had in this state.”
He acknowledged that this race for him has always been a long shot.
“But this is not the first time in my life that somebody told me that something I wanted to do passionately was a long shot,” he said.
When he was appointed by President Bill Clinton as U.S. attorney in Birmingham in 1997, he said, people told him not to worry about that old case of the church bombing in Birmingham.
“They said don’t worry about that 1963 bombing case, it’s a long shot,” he said. “The case is old. The evidence is old. Witnesses are dead.”
But he said he had the passion and the commitment to try that case anyway.
“We convicted those two old Klansmen who murdered those four little girls,” he said to a standing ovation. “We did so folks not because I am some great lawyer. Not just because we had a great team. We did so because we were on the right side of history.”
After traveling around the state during this campaign, Jones said he has become convinced that he is on the right side of history again.
“We are at a crossroads,” he said. “It is our time to make sure that Alabama puts its best foot forward, that we don’t go back to things that divide us. They have divided us for too long. We are better than that. We know that and we are going to show people and the entire country what Alabama truly is: That is a loving, caring people.”
Watch the video for more:
© 2017, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.