Lin­coln movie and more

Easy Does It

The Advance of Bucks County - - WORD ON THE STREET - Ge­orge Robin­son

Coming out of the Lin­coln movie, a woman next to me turned to her com­pan­ion and said, “I felt like I just met Pres­i­dent Lin­coln.” That’s how real­is­tic Steven Spiel­berg’s film is. It jumped off the screen be­cause in a way, Abra­ham Lin­coln was con­fronting a deadly dilemma sim­i­lar to what we as a na­tion are fac­ing now, to­day.

While Pres­i­dent Lin­coln knew the sounds of gun­fire bring­ing death and de­struc­tion that can only come from the bat­tle­field, our Pres­i­dent 2bama to­day knows gun­fire can come from any­where, school, play­ground, the­ater, and in any city or town any­where.

2ur spe­cial kind of real and deadly threat, then un­known to Lin­coln, is the killing of our chil­dren, just as re­al­is­ti­cally as, in his day, dead sol­diers in the bat­tle­field mud that Lin­coln wit­nesses rid­ing his horse among the fallen on the bloody fields of the Civil War.

While the ca­su­al­ties de­picted in the Lin­coln movie were sol­diers fight­ing for both the north and south, our dead bod­ies to­day are eas­ier to rec­og­nize be­cause they are our young, chil­dren, mind­lessly and for no rea­son other than they were there, shot down by a mad­man with weapons de­signed only to kill as many as mod­ern tech­nol­ogy per­mits.

And like Pres­i­dent Lin­coln who was try­ing to bring the war to a close while work­ing to free slaves from bondage, our Pres­i­dent 2bama also is seek­ing to keep much more pow­er­ful weapons out of the hands of those who would in­vade our na­tion’s schools, malls, the­aters, cities, and other pub­lic places with a sin­gle deadly goal in mind: To kill ran­domly, im­per­son­ally, and large num­bers.

If some­thing isn’t done about this na­tional disgrace, our na­tion faces more than Lin­coln could imag­ine in his day.

An­other re­al­ism be­ing over­looked is, like Pres­i­dent Lin­coln, we have been fight­ing longer than the Civil War to end sense­less shoot­ings and deaths of in­no­cents in our 21st cen­tury as Lin­coln’s at­tempted to do the same 150 years ago.

While Pres­i­dent Lin­coln strug­gled to end a bloody Civil War, we won­der how long it will take for our Pres­i­dent to bring an end to this sense­less war on our own ci­ti­zens and death to em­bar­rass­ingly large num­bers of chil­dren whose only mis­take was go­ing to school on a Fri­day morn­ing from which most did not re­turn.

This is an em­bar­rass­ment that Lin­coln also would never have con­doned nor found the wis­dom to ex­plain.

0ost of the film is about Lin­coln’s ef­forts to pass the 13th amend­ment to the Con­sti­tu­tion that would abol­ish slav­ery while at the same time, work­ing ev­ery an­gle to end the Civil War. The sim­i­lar­ity be­tween then and now is chill­ing.

A pow­er­ful scene is when Lin­coln vis­its a makeshift hospi­tal tent to com­fort wounded sol­diers while at­ten­dants in bloodied aprons wheel am­pu­tated legs in a wheelbarrow to a burial place just out­side.

Like to­day, the ses­sion of Congress that brought the 13th amend­ment to a vote on Jan. 31, 1863 was rough, rude and loud. But it was wor­thy of rat­i­fi­ca­tion by a vote of 119 to 56, just seven more votes than the re­quired twothirds to pass.

The new law pro­vided that “nei­ther slav­ery nor in­vol­un­tary servi­tude ex­cept as pun­ish­ment for a crime shall ex­ist within the United States.” The new law of the land went into ef­fect Jan. 1, 1863.

Most del­e­gates’ re­ac­tion was “a tu­mult of joy that was vast, thun­der­ing, and un­con­trol­lable.” In Washington, three bat­ter­ies of reg­u­lar ar­tillery sol­diers saluted the re­sult with 100 guns.

Lin­coln’s as­sas­si­na­tion seemed like an af­ter­thought, coming in the last 15 min­utes of the film. The scene de­picted a se­ri­ous play on stage in a Washington the­ater, un­clear whether it was Ford’s The­ater or an­other play­house. I thought I had caught a mis­take be­cause the play had a se­ri­ous plot, not the com­edy of “2ur Amer­i­can Cousin” Lin­coln was watch­ing star­ring Laura Keene on April 14, 1865.

Lin­coln’s son Tad, watch­ing from the bal­cony of an­other the­ater, saw a man walk on stage and an­nounce the Pres­i­dent had been shot. As the 12-year-old boy broke into sobs, the scene changed to Lin­coln’s body ly­ing full length on a bed in a room across the street.

“Now he be­longs to the ages,” said Sec­re­tary of War Ed­win Stan­ton as Mary Lin­coln was helped from the room.

yrdez­doe­sit@com­cast.net

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