Obama used part of his Thursday praise for the late civil rights leader to approve several policies to reform the vote, including implementing automatic voter registration, making election day a national holiday, and passing all-new voting rights legislation .
But the former president also complained that too many people choose not to exercise their constitutional right to vote and condemned the various barriers Americans face when trying to cast ballots.
“Even as we sit here, there are those in power who do the strangest thing to prevent people from voting by closing polling stations and targeting minorities and students with restrictive identity laws and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision. “They are even undermining the postal service in the run-up to the election, which will depend on ballots to keep people from getting sick,”
Miller, perhaps best known for his support for a strict immigration policy, defended voter identification laws, but otherwise offered little in the way of evidence to refute Obama’s claims. Spokesmen for Obama’s post-presidential cabinet did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Miller’s criticism.
A handful of other prominent conservatives also attacked Obama’s speech at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta as too political and inappropriate for an event designed to remember a person’s life.
“Imagine if a fatter politician showed up at your loved one’s funeral and started spreading silly guerrilla talk about the Senate procedure,” Tucker Carlson said on Thursday night. Can you imagine that? You will be shocked if this happens. You would probably go out. What kind of person would do this funeral with campaign slogans? “
Obama’s speech touched on issues inextricably linked to Lewis’ legacy as a legislator and civil rights defender. Leader of the Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee, Lewis was the youngest speaker in Washington in March 1963. He continued to serve in Congress for more than three decades and made it his mission to promote socially just activism.
Obama admitted on Thursday. “I know it’s a celebration of John’s life. There are some who might say that we should not dwell on such things. But that’s why I’m talking about it. “John Lewis has dedicated his time to this Earth, fighting attacks on democracy and the best in America that we see circulating at the moment,” he said.