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As appalling & dishonest as comparisons being made to #RosaParks by conservatives this week, they couldn't get away with it as blithely if liberals didn't already misuse & mischaracterize lifelong freedom fighter Rosa Parks (without broad reproach). A short historical reminder:
On February 27, 2013, a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders joined Pres. Obama to dedicate the Rosa Parks statue in the Capitol's Statuary Hall. On that very same day across town, the Supreme Court was hearing arguments in voting rights case Shelby County v Holder.
Nancy Pelosi said "She did what was natural.She was tired so she sat down." Yet Parks herself criticized these stories of being 'tired' or 'hurting feet'. "It was just popular… because they wanted to give some excuse other than the fact that I didn’t want to be pushed around.”
President Obama praised her "singular act of courage". Yet, Parks herself was clear: “Over the years I have been rebelling against second class citizenship. It didn’t begin when I was arrested.” She described it as a "life history of being rebellious."
Faced with the specter of voting rights abridgement (which the Supreme Court legitimated a few months later in its decision), no one suggested any legislation that day to shore up voting protections to concretely honor Parks, who'd she'd fought since the 1940s for voting rights.
If we're serious about honoring #RosaParks, then being appalled by conservative comparisons is nowhere near enough. She spent her life taking action after action for justice--not because she knew what it would change but she didn't want it "taken for granted you were satisfied."
As she told her grandmother when she was young and got in trouble for standing up against a white bully, "I would rather be lynched than live to be mistreated, than not be allowed to say 'I don't like it.'"
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