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A Word About My Congressman

I live in the Georgia 5th Congressional District, and it has been an honor and privilege to vote for John Lewis as my representative. There aren’t too many genuine heroes among politicians, but Rep. Lewis is unquestionably one. Although he has run unopposed in the last three elections, I would walk to my polling place in any weather to cast a ballot for him, even if that was the only race being run.

Rep. Lewis has been a friend and political ally of the Clintons for many years, so it was no surprise to learn of his initial support for Hillary. She is my second choice, and will get my vote with more enthusiasm than reservation if she’s the Democratic nominee. But this district went overwhelmingly for Obama in the primary — the extent of his victory here could not have been foreseen when Rep. Lewis endorsed Clinton.

And although Rep. Lewis has gone on record very recently (go halfway down the page for the transcript of his conversation with Judy Woodruff and Rev. Joseph Lowery) defending the Clinton campaign, it’s now clear that he has struggled with his decision. He’s had to balance personal and political loyalty against his stated desire to one day support a black candidate for President and also against the will of his constituents. We take constituent service seriously around here, as Cynthia McKinney found out next door. And Rep. Lewis’ status as a superdelegate adds another increasingly important variable. He knows that his decision carries a lot of weight — if there’s such a thing as a superdelegate with coattails, he’s it.

So now he wavers, and I respect him for it. Too often we conflate certitude with strength — I tend to mistrust pronouncements of certainty in an uncertain world. Better to admit to being torn, I say. In the admitting, John Lewis reassures us that we are represented by a serious and thoughtful man.

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