In a strong indication that former President Barack Obama will take off the gloves in an attempt to unseat Donald Trump he made pointed political remarks at the John Lewis funeral today. Obama, the nation’s first Black president — who has acknowledged there was a Black president only because of what John Lewis sacrificed — delivered a eulogy for the civil rights icon and eventual congressman that went well beyond pure remembrance.
In words that were both highly specific and at times more veiled, Obama declared Lewis’ lifelong battle for racial equality to be ongoing and stated explicitly that forces in power today are working to undermine it.
He ticked off items like eliminating the filibuster, making Election Day a national day off from work and allowing former inmates to vote as action items for a society intent on becoming more just.
And he suggested the very actions taken by the current President — who avoided any in-person remembrances for Lewis, though three of his four living predecessors made the journey — were eroding representative democracy.
“We may no longer have to guess the number of jelly beans in a jar to cast a ballot, but even as we sit here there are those in power that are doing their darnedest to discourage people from voting,” Obama said, hours after his successor, President Donald Trump, had suggested on Twitter that November’s presidential contest be delayed because of the unproven potential for fraud.
As Trump wages a re-election campaign reliant on racist tropes and a vague notion of “heritage” that many see rooted in an outdated vision of the country, Obama said Lewis would eventually be remembered as another type of national hero.