JACKSON – Inside the Capitol Building in Washington last week, Congress made history by passing (with Democratic votes only) sweeping reform of the nation’s health care system sought by presidents for 70 years. Now 34 million Americans would be extended health care insurance–thousands of them in Mississippi.
Awaiting outside as lawmakers departed was gathered a hate-breathing mob that resembled escaped inmates from the nut house. As several black Democratic Congressmen walked past, the throng (tea-partiers?) hurled racial slurs and even spat on them for voting for the bill.
Of note, their abuse was heaped upon 70-year-old Rep. John Lewis of Georgia who holds a special place in the pantheon of civil rights heroes. Among Lewis’ battle scars is a 40-day incarceration in the maximum security unit of Mississippi’s Parchman penitentiary for entering a white only bus station waiting room in 1961 when he arrived in Jackson with the first group of “freedom riders.”