As of today, per electoral-vote.com, Georgia’s 15 electoral votes are in John McCain’s column, but the polling is within a couple points. John Lewis is an influential Georgian politician, and knows first-hand of the side effects of racist demagoguery such as what is currently being spewed by the McCain-Palin camp.
Representative John Lewis, the Georgia Democrat and civil rights leader, said Saturday that Senator John McCain and his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, were “sowing the seeds of hatred and division” in a way that reminded him of former Gov. George Wallace and “another destructive period” in the nation’s history.
In a blistering statement reacting to the angry crowds at McCain-Palin rallies in the past week that have shouted “off with his head” and other insults about Senator Barack Obama, Mr. Lewis said: “During another period, in the not-too-distant past, there was a governor of the state of Alabama named George Wallace who also became a presidential candidate. George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights.
“Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama.”
Mr. Lewis, who was referring to the 1963 church bombing by the Ku Klux Klan, added: “As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Senator McCain and Governor Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all. They are playing a very dangerous game that disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy.”
Mr. McCain has cited Mr. Lewis as one of three people on whom he depends for sage advice.
Let us hope that Lewis’ criticism leads to a bit of movement in the polls for Obama. Racism is not dead, by any means, but even in the South, there are plenty of white voters who are sickened by the actions of the racist few.