WASHINGTON – Former US President Barack Obama on Thursday attacked those who attack the right to vote with “surgical precision” and minorities, alluding to attempts by his successor, Donald Trump, to discourage voting by mail amid the pandemic of the coronavirus.
Without mentioning Trump’s name, Obama (2009-2017) gave a combative speech during the funeral in Atlanta (Georgia) of African-American Congressman John Lewis, a historic civil rights leader who was detained dozens of times for defending the right to the black community to go to the polls.
In this regard, Obama praised Lewis and recalled that “he devoted his time on Earth to fighting the same attacks on democracy that are being seen circulating right now.”
“While we are sitting here, he said, there are people in power who are doing everything possible to suppress the vote by closing polling stations, attacking minorities and students with restrictive identification laws, and attacking our right to vote with surgical precision, even undermining the postal service before the elections, which will depend on voting by mail so that people don’t get sick. “
Those statements by the first African-American president in US history made the audience stand up and applaud with rage.
His words come just hours after Trump suggested that the elections scheduled for November 3 should be delayed, something he cannot decide because he must have the majority support of Congress, in which Democrats control one of the Houses.
Randy Serrano has the information.
In his speech, Obama considered that the day of the elections should be a holiday so that all Americans can go to vote and criticized the closure in recent years of electoral centers, especially in poor areas and where a majority of African-American voters live or Hispanic.
In addition, he attacked the laws that, since 2013, some conservative states have approved to compel voters to show a photo card, despite the fact that in the US there is no national identity document and citizens are not obliged to have that ID.
Obama also alluded to the US Postal Service, whose reliability Trump has questioned and which is in a precarious economic situation, reason why some fear that he will not be able to assume the workload that would be implied by the vote by mail in the November elections. .
OBAMA CONDEMNS THE REPRESSION OF DEMONSTRATIONS
Again without mentioning his successor, Obama criticized federal agents who “used tear gas against peaceful protesters” and compared Trump’s US to Jim Crow’s laws, which institutionalized racial segregation in the country in the late 19th century.
While remembering Lewis, the former president urged Americans to pay attention to the worst instincts in his nation’s history.
“He (Lewis) knew from his own experience that progress is fragile, that we have to be attentive to the darkest currents in the history of our country, of our own history. Where there are eddies of violence, hatred and despair, evil it can rise again, “he warned.
His remains will be exposed tomorrow at the National Capitol.
Obama wore an insignia of Lewis’s face on his jacket and delivered his speech in front of the congressman’s coffin, covered with a large American flag.
The setting for the funeral was Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King grew up and was a reverend.
THE ABSENCE OF TRUMP
The funeral, in addition to Obama, was attended by former Presidents George Bush (2001-2009) and Bill Clinton (1993-2001), who shared their memories with Lewis, with whom they both worked in Washington.
“Today we live in a better and more noble country thanks to John Lewis” and his abiding faith in the power of God, in the power of democracy, and in the power of love, “said Bush.
Trump did not attend the funeral in Atlanta and did not appear at the tribute that was organized for Lewis this week in the US Congress, which was attended by the vice president, Mike Pence.
Lewis and Trump maintained a relationship of enmity that was more than known: the legislator did not attend the inauguration of the current president in 2017 and criticized the president on numerous occasions for his immigration policy, thus