Georgia congressman and Civil Rights leader John Lewis, reacting to the increasingly incendiary atmosphere at McCain-Palin campaign rallies, condemned the GOP for using tactics that are creating a mood not unlike the one created by George Wallace, the former segregationist governor and presidential candidate. Lewis accused the Republicans of “sowing the seeds of hatred and division,” and warned the McCain campaign that they are “playing with fire:”
“As one who was a victim of violence and hate during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, I am deeply disturbed by the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign,” Lewis said in a statement. “Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse.”
The veteran Democrat even invoked one of the most divisive figures in recent U.S. history. “During another period, in the not too distant past, there was a governor of the state of Alabama named George Wallace who also became a presidential candidate. George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama,” said Lewis.