Moving and inspirational, but then the theme lent itself to arousing such feelings. After all, the movie is about the Presidency of one of the most transformational Americans, a man who held office during the bloodiest saga of these United States, when the country’s divisions erupted in Civil War.
Parallels to the present time are obvious. How? To get anything done, in Congress, one had to buy votes and curry favor.
The President’s legacy was mentioned, often. Both advisors and his wife recommended he not go for something that could tarnish his reputation. But Mr. Lincoln remained true to his goal: He’d seek passage of the 13th. Amendment to the Constitution (the one barring slavery for all time)….no matter what.
His leadership was impressive: He remained resolute despite close advisors’ opinions to the contrary and success required him to get votes from the opposition party….any way they could.
Abe’s wife, Molly, worried about her own legacy, too. “Would people only believe me crazy?”she asked. She knew people talked and she’d had an especially difficult time following the death of one of their young children, on a night both she and the President attended a state function.
She felt she should have been with her child. She bore the pain of her decision to accompany the President, outwardly, while he did so, internally.
They both talked of the fact they were average people who found themselves pivotal role-players in history… roles they would never have necessarily chosen.
Mr. Lincoln’s brilliance was apparent. He spoke of Euclid’s math (in a conversation with an engineer), despite the fact he’d had a lawyer’s education. He was an apt story-teller, who could transform a moment with a tale that could capture the issue at hand and put it in new perspective.
He led the charge (to get the votes) when others feared failure, so he proved: He could get a little dirty.
He sought others’ counsel as well, never considering himself sole authority on an issue.
But he never faltered in his belief that slavery was wrong. And for his singular attention to that purpose, he stood alone. It looked like he’d fail.
And then the most incredible thing happened: Congress voted his way. After all the bluster…the infighting…the political posturing, Abraham Lincoln swayed the necessary number to vote for the amendment.
His legacy was assured.
Today’s issue is Obamacare. Then, it was slavery. Their obvious common ground? They’re both economic issues, born out of personal ideology.
In the 1860’s the South feared slave labor’s demise would cripple its economy. Today, Conservatives feel medical access for all Americans will similarly break our system.
Fear-mongering is used by each to promote its cause.
Interestingly enough, when the all-male group of Congressional delegates feared the 13th Amendment might signal ‘” ‘the coloreds’ will get the vote” (I quote the language of the day,) a legislator stood and asked “What’s next? Will women get the vote?”
That question was met with even stronger negative reaction.
Now that African-Americans enjoy a more equitable spot on the American political landscape, we now turn out attention to fairplay for those of Spanish ethnicity.
What demographic group consistently gets short shrift? Women.
My question: “Will women ever get true parityin America?” And on that same front: “When will a woman be President in a country that touts supposed equality for all?”