Rep. John Lewis meets with members of the Street Sense team.
credit: Ken Martin

People on both sides didn’t necessarily like who they voted for, but they swallowed it. America has a system that operates on principle of good sportsmanship.

But I still believe the biggest disservice to the American people was when Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton didn’t come out herself to give a concession speech. She sent out a bureaucrat and employee to tell people to go home and come back in the morning. I think that 24 hours gave people a lot of fear and anxiety. And that’s still rolling on.

No one knows where we are headed. And that doesn’t feel good.

In my heart of hearts, I believe what Democratic Georgia Rep. John Lewis said in our interview – about believing in our legislative process but working hard to make change and making our voices heard.

His normal stance would be to let things take their natural course. But when no one else was saying anything about being nonviolent, I think he felt compelled to be the voice in the name of peace and in the name of an open democracy.

Lewis said he hears us, and that he will be a voice for us because no one else decent stepped into that role. President Barack Obama certainly didn’t. He used the “I’m on my way out of here, and I’m the president of the U.S., so I’m not going to take a stance one way or the other” excuse. He implied plenty of things but made no strong statements. We didn’t get any direction.

Lewis is as close as we have to a national leadership figure that people across the board respect and might listen to. Democrats probably need to hear from him more than anyone else. Democratic Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who ran against Clinton in the primary, didn’t come out on election night either. And that day really set the tone and speed for everything that’s been happening.

Lewis is going to give all Americans a voice. And nobody’s voice will be ignored because the Constitution gives us that right. The pursuit of happiness, freedom of speech, the legislative process. Based on our past interview, I imagine Lewis might say, thinking of the way forward, something like this:

“Give me your hand, and I will hold you up. Give me your ear, and I will listen and acknowledge the people’s right to free speech and dissent. Give me your strength, as a human being, and I will stand with you and echo your voices so, so strong. It is our way and the way of our civilized existence. I will bite the bullet and bare the pain, nonviolently, of course. We as humans are exemplary. We are America. We are human beings who must strive to live together in peace with respect and dignity. I believe it is my duty to let you be heard. After all, it is written in the Constitution, and I will let you speak and you will be heard. I will be the seat at the table, and we will make a more perfect union. One voice, one party, one entity does not make a nation. It is all of, we the people.”

Thank you, Representative Lewis, for leading the way, for I believe you paved a more peaceful path for the Inauguration and the Women’s March on Washington. No one likes to be ignored.

Angie Whitehurst is a vendor/artist for Street Sense.