John Lewis: Sieze The Day!
John Lewis at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.
Ann: Mr. Lewis?
John Lewis: Yes, Ann. I am coming to you this morning to add my voice to the chorus of those who see this democracy at a crossroads. We are asked to decide whether we will stand for those who live and work in this country and give them a voice in the governance of their lives or if we will succumb to the age old pressures of oppression and greed and take the bread from the mouths of hungry children to sell for gold with which to line our own pockets.
It is nothing less. Though he was not of my party nor of my political persuasion, I stand united with John McCain, come a bit lately to the fair, but here in full force to marshal forces on behalf of the down trodden. There are many of us gathered on this side of the veil who see the goings on in our mighty country, a country whose soul is on the line like never before.
Ann: How can you say that when we had a Civil War and a civil rights movement in which you were almost killed?
Mr. Lewis: Because, Ann, the mechanisms of our government are in the process of transformation. In the past, people interpreted, misinterpreted really, laws which were neutral, even beneficial on their face, to keep the white man in power. Now the effort is focused on changing the processes at the most fundamental levels so that disempowerment will be institutionalized on a permanent basis.
I do not completely share the optimism of my friend Justice Ginsburg that the courts as currently configured will do the right thing. Putting the best face on it, many of their ideas are rooted in what they call originalist thinking which assumes that, if left to their own devices, right will rise to the top as so much cream. It is a justifiable philosophy only if the systems that determine what rises or what is trod upon is structured so that no predetermined outcome is assured. That is not the case now if it ever was.
The filibuster must go. There is no other means of averting disaster, and this is our moment of opportunity. “Seize the day!” has been a slogan for the millennia for a good reason. Failure to do so will result in an extended period of darkness, not just for people of color and disadvantage, but even more so for those who so desperately cling to power and fortune, for their souls have been trampled into the dust just as surely as the bodies of my forebears and compatriots where beaten and murdered all those years ago.
Here we are again trying to turn back the tide of privilege and oppression. Each time we have turned a corner and think that we have won the war, that tide rolls back in to try to force us back on our heels and put us in our place.
It happened when we were savagely attacked as we marched from Selma to Montgomery on Bloody Sunday in 1965 to claim that most sacred of civic rights, the right to vote in a free and fair election. That march resulted in the passage of the Voting Rights Act six months later, but it was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2013, and here we are again.
Now it may seem odd that I am back in spirit to advocate for a political cause on what is essentially a spiritual channel, but the two have become irrevocably intertwined at this moment in time. The New Voting Rights Act is our ticket into the next millennium as free people. I ask you to do what you can to make sure that it becomes law.
Ann: Mr. Lewis, I have wanted to talk to you about this and other matters taking place now but have not felt your presence in any concentrated way until today.
Mr. Lewis: Well, Ann, (smiling) I have been engrossed in other matters as you may well imagine. The transition of a soul from one dimension to another is a complex work in process. We belong to a far greater system that can be imagined by the human mind, but what we can realize, in thought and in action while we live on this planet is the love of our Creator, for that will never fail us.
This love powers me to come back here to speak to you and your readers. If only one amongst you makes a difference in the opening up of our society to all who are sheltered within, then I have accomplished what I came for. My energies are focused now on the passage of this bill into law and then, when that is done, the work necessary to make sure our judicial system will enforce it as written and intended.
And I hear you wondering if this deep involvement in worldly affairs is proper work for departed souls who have supposed done what they could here and have moved on to more spiritual matters. You are right that we have much spiritual work to do, a joyful plateful of work and learning that is heaped up before us. But on that plate at the top of the pile for many of us is the support and advancement of the light filled presence of the Holy Spirit on the planet.
Some like John, myself, and Ruth have dived into this work with a furor and commitment unmatched even by our energy and passion while on the planet because now with our wider vision we see the critical importance of this time and place in turning the tide for the human race and, in turn, for the Kingdom of God.
We work for both at the same time, for, in truth, they are one and the same.
March 23, 2021