A constituent whose viral letter to Democratic Rep. John Lewis pleading with the Georgia congressman to reconsider his decision to boycott Donald Trump’s inauguration has said the event “should be a moment of unity and celebration for our country” and is hoping her note changes Lewis’ mind.
“I understand our country is divided and there are many unknowns about Trump’s Presidency, but attending the inauguration is not an endorsement of his policies or approach,” Ruth Malhotra told Faithwire, “Rather, it is about the office and it’s a chance to show the rest of the world how we navigate changes in leadership.”
She continued, “If we start undermining the legitimacy of those we disagree with, where will that lead?”
Malhotra opened her now-viral letter to Lewis, which she published on her Facebook page on Saturday, by noting that she’s a “lifelong citizen in Georgia’s 5th District” and has always respected Lewis’ legacy as a civil rights hero.
She continued, “I have never voted for you, but I have always recognized you as my duly elected Congressman,” going on to further explain her disappointment:
Decades ago you fought for a fundamental aspect of democracy itself – the right to vote – and I’ve always felt a certain sense of awe and gratitude to be represented by someone who played such a pivotal role in America’s history. Although many of my political priorities and convictions are very different from yours, I know we share some of the same concerns for the future of our great country.
Because of this, I am deeply saddened to hear that you are planning to boycott Donald J. Trump‘s Inauguration and I am even more disappointed that you are promoting the idea that he is not “a legitimate president.” Such rhetoric is not grounded in reality and is not only irresponsible but dangerous to our democracy.
I did not vote for President-Elect Trump and I do not know exactly what his Administration will bring in the coming months and years – none of us know at this point. But I do know that as citizens we are called to acknowledge and respect all our elected officials, and as government leaders you are charged with working together for the greater good of the nation and demonstrating a peaceful transition of power to the world.
Malhotra concluded by asking that Lewis reconsider his decision to boycott the inauguration and that he reverse his rhetoric on the matter — commentary that she said is “undermining the results of our democratic election process.” She also asked that he once again work to unite the country as he has done in the past.
Going deeper into her explanation as to why she wrote the letter, Malhotra told Faithwire she believes it’s “disrespectful” to constituents for politicians like Lewis to refuse to attend, reaffirming her belief that the event isn’t only about Trump.
“The Office of the Presidency is bigger than any one individual, and at the end of the day the inauguration is not even really about Trump himself,” she said. “The boycott from Lewis and others — especially as he is calling Trump an illegitimate president — is really a failure to acknowledge our free and fair elections, it’s insulting to everyone who voted for Trump, and it’s not beneficial to the country at large. Divisive and disrespectful instead of civil and unifying.”
Malhotra added that the decision not to attend makes it more difficult for people like Lewis to have a seat at the table when they want to discuss issues of importance with the incoming administration — issues that might impact her district and state. Watch her discuss these issues on “Fox & Friends” below:
“I also hope my letter motivates other constituents to respectfully voice their concerns to their representatives,” she added. “We are called to honor and pray for all our elected officials, to support them when we can, as well as to hold them accountable when we believe their rhetoric and actions to not represent us or promote the common good.”
In the end, Malhotra said she’s praying that God uses America’s leaders to accomplish what is “good and true,” and that these leaders humble themselves in seeking out the best path forward. But she didn’t only pray for politicians, as she said she also hopes to see Americans treat one another with grace and respect amid the ongoing turmoil.
“I pray that as citizens we will afford each other the dignity of difference even as we passionately advocate for the ideas we believe are best for America,” she said. “I pray that in the months and years ahead we will all work toward the common good instead of only trying to advance our personal agendas.”
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