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Lewis is a hero and a hack

Does marching in Selma 50 years ago mean you can do no wrong today?

Most of the media, all liberals, and the entire Democratic Party have come to the defense of Rep. John Lewis despite his unsubstantiated claim that Donald Trump is not a legitimate president ("Trump undeserving of respect," Jan. 17). Their reasoning is that Congressman Lewis is a civil rights hero, legend and icon and therefore can apparently say and do anything he wants with impunity. Should his heroism demonstrated over 50 years ago excuse all current behavior?

Here are some interesting truths about Mr. Lewis. In 2001, he declared George W. Bush to be illegitimate and skipped his inauguration. Later, he called for President Bush's impeachment because he authorized National Security Agency wiretapping without any warrants. When President Barack Obama authorized similar wiretapping, Mr. Lewis failed to say anything negative about President Obama and certainly did not call for his impeachment. Perhaps a bit of hypocrisy? In 2008, he accused Sen. John McCain of stoking hate and likened his presidential campaign to former Gov. George Wallace.

Is Mr. Lewis a civil rights icon? Absolutely. Has he become a political hack over the past two decades? Absolutely. Is it possible to praise Mr. Lewis for the former and condemn him for the latter? Absolutely. Doing something great in your life does not give you a pass to become as partisan as you wish and to be immune from criticism totally unrelated to your heroic act.

John W. Egan, Hunt Valley

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