Today's Rocky Mountain News includes a political cartoon on page 51A that depicts Abraham Lincoln reading the Gettysburg Address: "Four score and seven years ago..." In the lower right of the cartoon is a donkey with a "DEMS" button pinned to his chest and in the thought bubble above his head are the words, "How dare he politicize a national tragedy." I cannot read the artist's name, but the cartoon came from the San Diego Union-Tribune, Copley News Service.
The cartoon, of course, makes that wildly shameful jingoistic leap; a leap that Dubya's neocon wingnut constituency blindly gobbles up like apple pie on the 4th of July; a leap that simply ignores false premises and celebrates invalid conclusions. The Rove-inspired Neocon revisionistic history represented by the cartoon, suggests that-all things being equal--Dubya stands tall with Abraham Lincoln.
All things are NOT equal. Before you lose your last meal (this is surely sickening stuff from this morning's Rocky) consider:
Lincoln's eloquence on November 19, 1863, in dedication of the battlefield of the American Civil War where over 51,000 soldiers--Union and Confederate alike--lost their lives, consisted of two-hundred and seventy-eight words.
Dubya's address to the nation on September 11, 2006, consisted of 2,623 words.
Which address, I wonder, will stand the test of time? Do I even need to ask such a question?
Dubya's address consisted of a recapitulation of the Neocon polemic with regard to the axis of evil and what Dubya's (Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz) believe a "mission accomplished" will consist of against the evildoers...although, hmmm..., didn't we already celebrate "mission accomplished." Dubya's speech was (How stupid do you believe the American people to be, Mr. President) conceptualized, designed, written and delivered to play to an ever decreasing Neocon base; it was a shameful ad campaign that hitched onto, exploited the tragedy of 9/11 for the sole, unabashed purpose of propping-up Republicans for the November elections. The immense, dishonorable failures of Dubya's reign during these dangerous, destructive times cannot be ameliorated with a plethora of words from speechwriters.
From Abraham Lincoln Online.org:
"Of the five known manuscript copies of the Gettysburg Address, the Library of Congress has two. President Lincoln gave one of these to each of his two private secretaries, John Nicolay and John Hay. The copy on exhibit, which belonged to Nicolay, is often called the "first draft" because it is believed to be the earliest copy that exists.
"Considerable scholarly debate continues about whether the Nicolay copy is the "reading" copy. In 1894 Nicolay wrote that Lincoln had brought with him the first part of the speech, written in ink on Executive Mansion stationery, and that he had written the second page in pencil on lined paper before the dedication on November 19, 1863. Matching folds are still evident on the two pages shown here, suggesting it could be the copy that eyewitnesses say Lincoln took from his coat pocket and read at the ceremony."
The Gettysburg Address ends with the words: "It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
I'm sorry, I've got to repeat: "...that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Abraham Lincoln was desperately, quietly but powerfully, trying to pull a broken nation back together.
Dubya's jingoistic hoopla, his 2,623 words are rightly dwarfed by the heartfelt pleading of Lincoln's two-hundred and seventy-eight words; words that were meant to heal, not frighten, not hide the catastrophic failures of a "...bring 'em on..." cowboy who didn't ever and still hasn't got a clue what's embodied in those words: "of the people, by the people, for the people..."
And, shame on the Rocky Mountain News!