Story Stream
recent articles

It's Friday, July 31, 2020, the day of the week when I reprise instructive or inspirational quotations. Today's comes from -- who else? -- John Lewis, the man beaten mercilessly when he was 21, who at 23 moved a nation's consciousness from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and who was still trying to impart moral wisdom to us at age 80, knowing that his time on Earth was coming to an end.

"I appeal to all of you to get into this great revolution that is sweeping this nation," John Lewis proclaimed at the famous 1963 march in Washington. "Get in, and stay in, the streets of every city, every village and hamlet of this nation until true freedom comes, until the revolution of 1776 is complete."

* * *

In his last days, John Lewis laughingly recalled for his biographer his lifelong love of the poem "Invictus." He did so while facing cancer with uncommon courage and grace. And to the very end, he was delivering sermons that simultaneously called his fellow human beings to both action and unity.

"We must never ever give up, or give in, or throw in the towel," he said in one of his last interviews. He continued:

We must continue to press on! And be prepared to do what we can to help educate people, to motivate people, to inspire people to stay engaged, to stay involved and to not lose their sense of hope. We must continue to say, "We're one people. We're one family. We all live in the same house. Not just an American house but the world house." As Dr. King said over and over again, "We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters. If not, we will perish as fools."

Here's hoping we don't perish at all -- and that's your quote of the week.

Carl M. Cannon is the Washington bureau chief for RealClearPolitics. Reach him on Twitter @CarlCannon.

Show comments Hide Comments