John Robert Lewis was buried today.
I listened/watched his funeral while doing my work. Admittedly, and so very white of me, I really didn’t know who Representative John Lewis was until his infamous sit-in of the House of Representatives’ Chamber, working to force a vote on gun regulation. Although I have seen Selma several times, and many other movies on the civil rights movement, my brain just never made the connection between those stories and the living icon.
As I listened to the many people speaking, including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Barack Obama, I was overcome with a sense of melancholy, a sense of longing for normalcy. Although I had many issues with the decisions made by President Bush, well with all of them if it comes down to it, there wasn’t the constant, insistent whining and upheaval we are put through 24/7 right now. In my heart, I knew these past President’s cared about all of the American people, honored our institutions, and felt duty-bound to uphold our Constitution.
At the moment it sank in, as each of these past Presidents spoke, what normal felt like. How calming a President can be when speaking from the heart. How it feels to know our President has our backs, even as he makes decisions with which we don’t agree. The feeling of knowing the President isn’t trying to divide us, but unite us. The feeling of knowing the President, in his own way, cares, actually cares about us all. A President who knows once elected, he is there to serve the people, not be served by the people.
For just a moment, things felt normal. When that feeling hit me, I began to cry. I was crying because it felt good. I cried for what we have lost these past four months, nay, these past four years. And I cried because it may be a while before things feel normal again, and I am not referring to the normal we had before the man in the Oval Office was sworn in, but the new normal of moving closer to full equality, and full equity, for us all.
For just that moment, life felt less scary, life felt good, life felt hopeful.
Thank you John Lewis. I may have been very ignorant of your impact on people of color, on civil rights, and on all of our lives, but I know you now and I honor your service, and weep for your passing.
May your words, your teachings, and your legacy push us all to meet the ideals, and the expectations you have set for us.
Rest In Peace Representative Lewis…