Congressman John Lewis chose to not attend the first inauguration of George W. Bush. He also chose to miss the inauguration of Donald Trump. While Bush #43 flew from Texas to Atlanta to not only attend the funeral of John Lewis, he chose to speak at the funeral. Some of the comments he made: “He will live forever in the hearts of Americans. John Lewis believed in the Lord, he believed in humanity and he believed in America”. Further into his eulogy he said, “He’s been called an American saint, a believer willing to give up everything, even life itself, to bear witness to the truth that drove him all his life: that we could build a world of peace and justice, harmony and dignity and love.”
The relationship between Bush and Lewis was at times tense, with the tragedy of 9/11 looming large. A year after the Sept. 11 attacks, Lewis spoke out against invading Afghanistan. Yet #43 was the bigger man, did not keep a grudge because John Lewis made the purposeful decision to not attend an inauguration, which followed a constitutional question in Florida of the meaning of “chads”.
John Lewis lay in state 6 miles from the White House. Not only did Trump not attend the funeral in Atlanta, he did not pay any respects a few miles down Pennsylvania Avenue. There was one tweet, “Saddened to hear the news of civil rights hero John Lewis passing”. Yet when asked about John Lewis in an Axios interview, according to Fox News, Trump withholds praise for John Lewis, notes he ‘didn’t come to my inauguration’.
Many people ignore politics as something that has nothing to do with us on a daily basis. Every single day we have the option of being the bigger person or being the smaller, petty person. While I might not have thought that “W” would be an example to follow, he certainly is in this example.
There are a lot of things we can’t influence on a daily basis. We can decide every day whether we act with grace or we act out of a mean spirit.