Thursday, February 12, 2009

Loggerheads Over Lincoln

It's the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest, if not the greatest President in American history. He is as much myth as man any more because of all that he accomplished and, I suppose fortunately for his posterity, his death before the problems of the post-Civil War period could become manifest.

There are times I wonder what old Abe would think if he could come back for a day in the present and look around at all he managed to save; would he recognize any of it or think that his personal sacrifices had been worth it? Would he look at the descendants of his Party, the Big Elephants, and wonder what in the world happened, how his ideals became the narrow-minded meanness of the present, the hateful biting of the hand of the Current Resident who has reached out to them.

Don't get me wrong; I know enough about history to know that Abe wasn't a saint. He famously suspended the right of Habeas Corpus during the Civil War, supressed dissent and used force to enforce the draft. His racial views would not be politically correct now, though they did apparently change and evolve as the war progressed. Still, few Presidents in our history have managed to inspire us as Lincoln did in his short time as the national leader. I'm hopeful that our current President can manage to inspire us in these tough times. He's not a saint, but then neither was Ronald Reagan, the current Republican saint, and Obama is going to be dealing with a lot more trouble than Reagan ever did, so his inspiring oratory will be needed more than ever.

I just wish the Big Elephants and their mouthpieces in the right-wing media would back off a bit and remember that they are NOT the only patriots, NOT the only Americans. They lost an election but NOT their responsibility to make this country work the way the Framers of the Constitution intended. Will the bigger minds, the better angels of their nature, elevate the debate from the Right? I doubt it, but maybe they'll surprise us all when the shit begins to hit the fan.

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