The recent media kerfuffle between civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis and President-elect Trump should not distract us from "the fierce urgency of now."
Both men exhibit a certain amount of naiveté or sheer ignorance about the reality of past contests between the United States and Russia's predecessor, the Soviet Union.
The United States government through our CIA and other foreign intelligence entities routinely injected cash and other forms of economic benefit to a candidate or party in countries we thought was in our best interest. These included, but were not necessarily limited to elections or the selection of a political leader we favored in countries such as France, Italy, Spain, Iran, Lebanon, Angola, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Zaire (Republic of The Congo), Chile, Nicaragua, Syria, just to mention a few.
Applying Congressman Lewis's standard of preferential intervention by Russia in our recent presidential election could also be said about the prime ministers or presidents of those countries in which our CIA and money, presumably made them "illegitimate" political leaders in their respective countries.
ALL OF THIS IS SECONDARY AND SUBORDINATE, however, to the principal issues, we should remember about our recent presidential election:
1. An overwhelming majority of the print and TV media favored and expected Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to handily defeat Donald Trump. The Campaign Committee had ordered fireworks to celebrate their election victory over Donald Trump at their Brooklyn campaign headquarters.
2. Most establishment Black Democratic members of Congress and members of the Congressional Black Caucus and many Democratic party leaders in African-American communities were confident their candidate would win.
3. They were and remain in a state of disbelief that in fact Donald Trump won by amassing more electoral votes than Mrs. Clinton. Thus, evidence that Russia engaged in clandestine cyber acts to influence the outcome by using the new social-digital-mobile media against Clinton and in favor of Trump's election is the only thing to them that explains their candidate's loss.
4. President-elect Trump, therefore is an interloper "illegitimately" elected, notwithstanding he received more electoral votes than Clinton
New York Times columnist Charles Blow framed the current dispute between Trump and John Lewis best:
"A lecher attacking a legend; a man of moral depravity attacking a man of moral certitude; an intellectual weakling attacking a warrior for justice. This on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, no less."
"Trump attacks Lewis as, "All talk, talk, talk -- no action"; Lewis, who repeatedly thrust his body unto the breach for justice, who was arrested, beaten and terrorized, including during the time that young Trump was at his well-heeled schools, receiving draft deferments from the Vietnam War."
The challenge GOING FORWARD, now, however is how can Congressman Lewis, and especially other Black civil rights leaders and other leaders in African American communities "get comfortable" and develop any rational good faith belief that a "President "Trump" will take the time to learn and understand and then, address problems systemic to their constituents.
Trump is an innovative builder with a celebrated management style and way of doing business: Everything is negotiable and can be achieved. It's just a matter of striking a pragmatic financial balance between previous deeply embedded idealism AND a pragmatic "business" resolution.
The essence of who Martin Luther King, Jr, is was his commitment to non-violence and the building of a "Beloved Community."
Rather than publicly excoriating and criticizing President-elect Trump, why doesn't Congressman John Lewis and members of the mostly Democratic Congressional Black Caucus initiate conversations with a President Trump, and offer to meet and take him to several of their respective communities? Let him see and hear, first hand, those issues that must be confronted and resolved before we can engage him to "deal" pragmatically with issues such as gun violence, sub-standard housing, under performing schools, and inadequate affordable health care.
To boycott or not actively engage the participation of our new president in addressing major issues within and affecting African-Americans and other disadvantaged people of color would constitute a major failure of leadership on behalf of millions of our brothers and sisters. We need first rate and first class community services directly backed by the powers of our new president.