Today is the birthday of Albert Schweitzer. If that name is only vaguely familiar, click on the link in his name. Despite great odds and the talent of a genius in more than one field, he dedicated his life to the health of the poorest of Africa. By any definition, including those who award the Nobel Peace Prize, he was a hero.
Today was also the day that George Wallace became governor of Alabama in 1963. One of the leaders who rose up to challenge the policies and hatred that Wallace espoused was John Lewis. Unlike many whose lives were cut short for standing up to the injustice of the day, Lewis continues to stand for justice and service to his community as a member of Congress. For many, however, he has also earned the title of hero.
John Lewis is in the news today, and I will not comment on the merits of the conversation he has initiated. I feel a deep need, however, to say that with his honorable life and service, John Lewis has earned the right to speak and to be heard. If we refuse to listen and discuss, we have surrendered a generation of progress. The irony of Schweitzer and Wallace sharing this day, now with Lewis, deserves recognition and contemplation.
P.S. Bill Moyers, who speaks with knowledge and authority had this to say this morning about John Lewis.