Barack Obama’s eulogy for John Lewis might be one of the greatest speeches he’s ever given. It was political in a way that honored the civil rights achievements Lewis strived for during his life and challenged everyone to continue. His words were incredibly powerful.
If politicians want to honor John, and I’m so grateful for the legacy of work of all the Congressional leaders who are here, but there’s a better way than a statement calling him a hero. You want to honor John? Let’s honor him by revitalizing the law that he was willing to die for. And by the way, naming it the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, that is a fine tribute. But John wouldn’t want us to stop there, trying to get back to where we already were. Once we pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, we should keep marching to make it even better.
By making sure every American is automatically registered to vote, including former inmates who’ve earned their second chance.
By adding polling places, and expanding early voting, and making Election Day a national holiday, so if you are someone who is working in a factory, or you are a single mom who has got to go to her job and doesn’t get time off, you can still cast your ballot.
By guaranteeing that every American citizen has equal representation in our government, including the American citizens who live in Washington, D.C. and in Puerto Rico. They are Americans.
By ending some of the partisan gerrymandering — so that all voters have the power to choose their politicians, not the other way around.
And if all this takes eliminating the filibuster — another Jim Crow relic — in order to secure the God-given rights of every American, then that’s what we should do.