Today Rep. John Lewis will become the first Black Congressman to lie in state in the United States Capitol Rotunda. Now that we are a few days removed from his passing, I have a few things I want to get off of my chest.

When politicians die, why do we feel a need to dissect their lives, opine on their faults and detail why we disagreed with them as soon as we hear of their passing? Does the need to pen a hot take override our sense of decency? Can’t we take a moment to acknowledge their humanity and the loss their family feels before we start attacking their record?

I posted on social media about Rep. Lewis’s death because he was an influential member of Congress. That alone merits a mention. His role in the Civil Rights movement further demands recognition.

Rep. Lewis was the last living member of the Big Six (Civil Rights leaders which included Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.). Lewis fearlessly led the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) as they staged sit-ins, Freedom Rides, boycotts and marches across the segregated South.

He was the youngest speaker (23) at the pivotal March on Washington. Lewis spoke before Dr. King delivered the soaring “I Have a Dream” speech.

He was arrested over 40 times for his efforts. Lewis was beaten, attacked by police, bitten by dogs and suffered a fractured skull. He literally put his life on the line to secure the rights of Black Americans. Later, he would march in the “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma, Alabama, in 1965.

Lewis steadfastly believed in the power of nonviolent resistance to achieve racial equality.

He went on to serve in Congress for 17 terms. Known as the “conscience of the Congress,” he was influential in the establishment of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Smithsonian Museum system.

When it came to his politics, I disagreed with Congressman Lewis on pretty much everything. He boycotted both the George W. Bush and Donald Trump inaugurations. He led a sit-in to promote gun control. An impassioned speech he gave led to the Trump impeachment vote.

On the issues, we couldn’t be further apart BUT I still respect his courageous leadership during the Civil Rights movement and his role in the House of Representatives. He was a link to a not-so-distant past and graciously mentored many of his colleagues. The heartfelt messages from across the political spectrum are a testament to his influence and friendships with members.

In a CNN article, Lewis recounted a reunion he had with a former KKK member who once brutally attacked him when he attempted to enter a white waiting area during his time with SNCC.

“Many years later, in February of ’09, one of the men that had beaten us came to my Capitol Hill office — he was in his 70’s, with his son in his 40’s — and he said, ‘Mr. Lewis, I am one of the people who beat you and your seatmate’” on a bus, Lewis said, adding the man said he had been in the KKK. “He said, ‘I want to apologize. Will you accept my apology?’”

After accepting his apology and hugging the father and son, the three cried together, Lewis remembered.

“It is the power in the way of peace, the way of love,” Lewis said. “We must never, ever hate. The way of love is a better way.”

As conservatives, we have a strong sense of right and wrong. We’re quick to denounce those who are perceived to be less ideologically pure than ourselves. It’s important to let balance and nuance guide our analysis.

We look past the faults of the Founding Fathers. They produced one of the best governing documents in human history and devoted their “life, liberty and sacred honor” to defend it. We rightfully commemorate their crucial contributions regardless of their beliefs about issues like slavery.

The push to remove statues has started a conversation about what deserves to be commemorated or who should be honored. No doubt our descendants will look back and question our actions as well.

History isn’t black and white. It’s oftentimes messy.

As a Christian, Black, conservative, I have no problem memorializing a man who sacrificed so much for me to have the freedoms and liberty I enjoy in America today.

Rest in peace, Rep. Lewis.