Obama used part of his eulogy Thursday for the late civil rights leader to pass several voting reform policies, including implementing automatic voter registration, establishing Election Day as a national holiday, and passing legislation comprehensive voting rights.
But the former president also lamented that many people choose not to exercise their constitutional right to vote, and condemned the various obstacles some Americans face when trying to cast their ballots.
“Even though we sit here, there are those in power who are doing their best to discourage people from voting by closing polling stations and targeting minorities and students with restrictive identity laws and attacking rights. “Our voting with surgical precision, even damaging the Postal Service at the conclusion of an election that will depend on postal ballots so that people do not get sick,”; he said, alluding to Republican-backed voting laws.
Miller, perhaps best known for his support for strict immigration policies, defended voters’ identity laws but otherwise offered little in the way of evidence to counter Obama’s claims. Spokesmen for Obama’s post-presidential office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Miller’s criticism.
A handful of other prominent conservatives have also attacked Obama’s speech at the Ebenezer Atlantic Baptist Church as too political and inappropriate for an event intended to commemorate a person’s life.
“Imagine if some greasy politicians showed up at your boyfriend’s funeral and started throwing around stupid partisan points talked about in the Senate procedure,” Fox News’ Tucker Carlson said on his show Thursday night. “Can you imagine? You would be shocked if that happened. You will probably get out. Acquiring a funeral with campaign slogans, what kind of person would do it? ”
Obama’s eulogy touched on issues inextricably linked to Lewis’s legacy as lawmaker and civil rights champion. A chairman of the Nonviolent Student Coordinating Committee, Lewis was the youngest speaker in March 1963 in Washington. He continued to serve for more than three decades in Congress and made it his life mission to promote social justice activism.
Obama acknowledged so much on Thursday. “I know this is a celebration of John’s life. There are some who may say that we should not deal with such things. But that’s why I’m talking about it. “John Lewis devoted his time to this Earth fighting the attacks on democracy itself and the ones that are the best in America that we are seeing circulating now,” he said.