Celebrating Civil Rights, Boehner-Style

The Republican speaker's vague praise for the March on Washington carefully stayed away from actual issues.

Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner greet John Lewis. (Getty Images)

Rep. John Lewis himself (D-Ga.), an architect of the march and its last living speaker, delivered closing remarks linking the causes that inspired the event to current legislative battles. “We’ve come a distance since that day, but many of the issues that gave rise to the march are still pressing issues in our society today,” he said. And he got specific, with a list that included hunger and voting rights. “We’ve come a great distance, but we are not finished yet,” he concluded.

For his part, Boehner wrapped up a characterization of the march as “a story with room enough to press for some cause — some dream — bigger than ourselves.” And his comments left plenty of room for the gap between his dream and the dreams of civil rights advocates, past and present.

Editor’s Note: This piece has been updated to replace a reference to a 2002 report card from the ACLU with a more recent civil rights report card by the NAACP.

Jenée Desmond-Harris is The Roots staff writer and White House correspondent. Follow her on Twitter.