It’s no surprise that Clayton’s votes overwhelmingly favor President-elect Biden, whom CNN has projected to win the presidency.
But while the direction of Clayton’s votes isn’t shocking, the role that the county’s ballots have played in helping Biden edge ahead of Trump in Georgia has symbolic significance. That’s because for years Clayton was represented by the late civil rights leader Democratic Rep. John Lewis.
Trump began his presidency by smearing Lewis, among others.
Lewis remained a staunch opponent of Trump.
“President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum,” the two congressmen said at the time. “The struggles represented in this museum exemplify the truth of what really happened in Mississippi. President Trump’s disparaging comments about women, the disabled, immigrants and National Football League players disrespect the efforts of Fannie Lou Hamer, Aaron Henry, Medgar Evers, Robert Clark, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and countless others who have given their all for Mississippi to be a better place.”
Lewis and Thompson added: “After President Trump departs, we encourage all Mississippians and Americans to visit this historic civil rights museum.”
“I cannot in all good conscience be in a room with what he has said about so many Americans. I just cannot do it,” the 17-term congressman said.
The aforementioned actions crystallized what Lewis called “good trouble” — his philosophy of nonviolent protest against injustice, regardless of the consequences.
Jamila Thompson, who was Lewis’ deputy chief of staff, spoke of the late congressman as a “gentleman” and “peaceful soul.”
“People always ask us: ‘What was it like to work for Congressman Lewis? What was he like up close? What was he like in real life?’ And it is too difficult to explain, so my answer was always the same: ‘He’s just as you may imagine, but better,’ ” said Thompson, who spoke on behalf of Lewis’ staff at the ceremony.
On Friday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms reflected on Lewis’ enduring political presence.
“To have Sen. (Kamala) Harris join the ticket, and for us to be a part of changing the history of this country, I think really speaks to the legacy of John Lewis, Joseph Lowery and Dr. C.T. Vivian,” Bottoms told CNN.
Compare Lewis’ legacy with the one Trump is creating for himself. On Thursday, the President delivered a speech chockablock with false claims.
Given the profound damage that Trump has inflicted on so many Americans and his obsession with denigrating Lewis, it’s fitting that part of the late congressman’s district has delivered as perfect an example of “good trouble” as might be imaginable.