By Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
A few weeks ago, Governor Paul R. LePage in his weekly call into Bangor’s WVOM radio station, was asked about Georgia Congressman John Lewis’s boycotting of President of Donald Trump’s Inauguration. It was Lewis’s personal opinion that duly elected Republican President Trump is not “a legitimate President.”
Governor LePage went on to express his dismay with Congressman Lewis, pointing out that President Lincoln freed the slaves and Presidents Hayes and Grant were opposed to Jim Crowe laws. This created a firestorm.
Progressive history college professors rushed to defend Lewis’s action, belittling Governor LePage’s understanding of American history. The press immediately piled onto the criticism taking the side of their cohorts in academia.
An article in the Sun Journal on January 18, 2017, entitled “LePage Mangles Civil Rights History,” reporter Steve Collins wrote that Bates College Professor Margaret Creighton told him: “Lincoln, admirable as he was, did not free the slaves.”
Collins wrote: “What changed Lincoln’s mind, she said, were the persistent arguments by African-Americans such as abolition leader Frederick Douglass who convinced him that deporting former slaves was a repugnant plan. . . Lincoln deserves credit for listening and taking heed, Creighton said, but it’s simply untrue that he freed the slaves. ”
During the many years I spent in the capacity of patrolman and detective on the Lewiston Police Department, being supervised by high-school-educated supervisors, not degree-laden college graduates, had I passed in a police report similar to this article, it would have been immediately kicked back to me. In law enforcement, you are trained to listen and follow up with questioning until all questions have been answered.
You are not trained to hear answers and write them up without question, as if it was coming from the Burning Bush atop of academia’s Mount Horeb.
During my years as a public school student and my 10 years as an ed tech at Lewiston Middle School, the mantra has always been Lincoln freed the slaves. Now, with the advent of Republican Donald Trump, what has been taught for countless decades is changing in order to minimize the accomplishments of another Republican President, Lincoln.
The question that needs to be answered is: Who is correct? Why after 151 years has Lincoln gone from a principle in the freeing of Southern slaves to nothing more than a bystander when it comes to their emancipation?
If this is the truth, why has it taken 151 years to come to light?
Next we have Congressman John Lewis’s Fifth Congressional District. His status as a civil rights icon elevated a much-to-do-about-nothing boycott of President Trump’s Inauguration into headlines. Of course, the fact he had pulled the same stunt earlier at President George Bush’s Inauguration was left out of the story.
This is the same John Lewis who stated that between 1500 and 1866, slave ships transported between 25 million to 50 million African slaves between Africa and the New World. The route they took was known as the Middle Passage, which ran from Africa to the New World.
Lewis claimed that millions of these slaves’ bodies had been thrown overboard, resulting in migrating sharks continuing to follow this route even today. Records show during that period about 12.8 million slaves actually made the trip on these ships.
Lewis has been made an icon by those on the Left because in 1965 he suffered a fractured skull during a march on the Pettus Bridge. Although this was a disgraceful incident, how many other unknowns suffered a similar fate or worse? Who remembers their sacrifice?
Then there is former Black Panther Clarence Mason Weaver. Although they were an extreme radical group, the Panthers did something we have not seen from those in Washington, D.C. They set up programs that actually helped and alleviated the suffering of neighborhood people.
Weaver does have an interesting opinion on Lewis. He calls him an illegitimate Congressman and a civil rights turncoat, pointing out he joined the people that beat him on the bridge and became a stooge for them.
It is a sad day when a “civil rights icon” has been elevated to a status above a President who was assassinated working to preserve the country.
When is enough going to be enough?