Wednesday, March 07, 2007

What would Abraham Lincoln say?

Lincoln Profile ViewThoughts after reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. (Simon and Schuster, 2005)--

What would Abraham Lincoln say about the war that's going on in Iraq today? Would President Bush and his war on Iraq remind Lincoln of President Polk and his war with Mexico? Would he see Bush, like Polk, "...running hither and thither like some tortured creature on a burning surface, finding no position on which to settle down and be at ease..."? Would Illinois Senator Lincoln, after being branded a traitor and losing his bid for reelection because of his opposition to the Mexican War, understand the quandary of those who oppose the Iraq War today? If President Bush could have consulted Lincoln about going to war in the first place, would Lincoln have warned him against the age old deception of war: "...that serpent's eye which charms to destroy..."?

We will never know.

3 comments:

Lilly Morgen said...

An excellent parrallel of history. This is what successful historians do.
What is that saying about people who do not heed the past are condemned to relive it? What is that exact quote and who said it? A free golden ticket to the first person who comes up with the correct statement!

jaycee said...

I believe Santyana said "Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it." but I've heard other people's names as well. It's too bad such short, pithy, oft-repeated and true quotes will lose their connection to the genius who invented them.

The important thing is that my high school history professor was wrong when he said "Honest Abe" would not be able to fathom the complexities of 20th (and 21st) Century global politics. The world was never more confusing than it was in Lincoln's day (Imagine being our town founder J. C. Smock in 1860: not certain what country you owed your allegiance to!) but Lincoln would have had any number of anecdotes to share. He was as good as Jesus at telling stories that bring everything into focus and encourage us all to do better.

Lilly Morgen said...

Well, even as a time traveler, I am amazed that we have been at war with someone in Iraq for now going on 5 years and 4 thousand American lives! Are we really that asleep? I think Lincoln would be appalled over this situation!Well, if anyone cares, there is a candle light vigil every Wed. night at 9:30 in front of the library in Old Sherwood Town. It will stop when the war stops.

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