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The Rev. Jim Watkins and Roxie Column: Farewell John

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Jim Watkins

“Jim, pardon the expression, but you sure have a hangdog look. What’s happening? Is your treatment going okay?”

“It is Roxie. Thanks for asking. I’m halfway finished with my external radiation. The only side effect is fatigue. My impression is that what you’re sensing is the sadness I’ve felt ever since I heard that John Lewis died.”

“That’s it. You are grieving, From previous conversations, I know how important John was to you.”

“Roxie, you are right on target. And it’s grief on top of grief. There is the personal grief and also the grief I feel for our nation. This is a time when our country needs a John Lewis more than ever. We need public leaders who are compassionate and courageous. As many mourners have said, John was a moral compass for us. “

“Well Jim, from what you have shared about John, he was not the kind of human who would just sit there in the midst of tragedy. My impression is that he was the kind of human who would say, that’s enough about me. John would say, get up, keep moving, do what is right. “

“Wow Roxie. Your wisdom shows itself again. That is how John would approach sad times. That certainly is how he responded to being beaten on the Pettus Bridge in Selma. He didn’t give up. He got up and kept moving.”

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“Thanks Jim. What kind of directions do you think John would have you humans move in?”

“Some folks think that we need to move in the direction of renaming the Pettus Bridge in honor of John. A case could certainly be made for that. But John would probably say, don’t waste your time with symbols. My hunch is that during this election year he would say, you want to remember me? Vote and make it possible for everyone to vote. There is a bill in Congress, The Voting Rights Advancement Act, that would restore a portion of the Voting Rights Act that had been removed. It also adds other provisions guaranteeing that every American has a right to vote. John called the vote “precious, almost sacred”. John would probably say, if you want to name something for me, pass the bill and put my name on it. And he would certainly add, if you are not registered to vote, go register. And in November, vote!”

“Jim, you’ve started preaching now.”

“That’s what John would do.”

The Rev. Dr. Jim Watkins lives in Pawleys Island. His column is published twice monthly.

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