Snub­bing Mr. Lin­coln at Get­tys­burg

Obama just couldn’t make it to Get­tys­burg, ‘sched­ule-wise’

The Washington Times Daily - - Editorial -

Thou­sands gath­ered at Get­tys­burg on Tues­day to mark the 150th an­niver­sary of Abraham Lin­coln’s fa­mous Get­tys­burg Ad­dress, but Pres­i­dent Obama, who likes to make speeches, was not among them. The iconic 272-word speech paid solemn trib­ute to the thou­sands of Amer­i­cans in Union Blue and Con­fed­er­ate Gray who died there. “The world will lit­tle note nor long re­mem­ber what we say here,” Lin­coln said on that dis­tant day, “but it can never for­get what they did here.” Lin­coln was wrong, of course; the world has never for­got­ten ei­ther the men who died there nor the man whose ad­dress made them im­mor­tal. But the 44th pres­i­dent de­clined to par­tic­i­pate in the sesqui­cen­ten­nial com­mem­o­ra­tion.

It was a re­mark­able snub. Mr. Obama finds Lin­coln use­ful to in­voke for his own pur­poses. Mr. Obama an­nounced for pres­i­dent at Lin­coln’s Spring­field law of­fice and took his oath as pres­i­dent with his hand on Lin­coln’s Bi­ble. But an aide said he couldn’t make the short he­li­copter hop to Get­tys­burg be­cause of “the whole web­site thing.” The York Daily Record, pub­lished nearby, called the snub “un­ac­cept­able.” Mr. Obama’s slight of the Get­tys­burg Ad­dress and the an­niver­sary didn’t end there.

Mr. Obama re­vised Lin­coln’s speech, you might say, when PBS in­vited 62 Amer­i­cans, in­clud­ing all liv­ing for­mer pres­i­dents, sev­eral gover­nors, celebri­ties and oth­ers to re­cite the Get­tys­burg Ad­dress for a video by film­maker Ken Burns. Mr. Obama’s is the only recita­tion to omit the words “un­der God” from the pas­sage “that this na­tion, un­der God, shall have a new birth of free­dom.” Mr. Obama was ap­par­ently asked by Mr. Burns to re­cite from the so­called “Ni­co­lay Copy,” or first draft, which doesn’t in­clude “un­der God.” The copy in Lin­coln’s own hand, bear­ing his sig­na­ture and the date, in­cludes the di­vine in­vo­ca­tion.

This was not the first man­i­fes­ta­tion of Mr. Obama’s theo­pho­bia. On other oc­ca­sions, Mr. Obama has omit­ted “by our Cre­ator” as the source of the “un­alien­able rights” cited in the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence. In an April 2009 speech at Ge­orge­town Univer­sity, re­li­gious iconog­ra­phy was cov­ered up at the Je­suit in­sti­tu­tion af­ter the White House de­manded a “neu­tral” tele­vi­sion back­drop. It was at a cam­paign fundraiser in San Fran­cisco that Mr. Obama made his fa­mous re­mark dis­miss­ing Amer­i­cans in fly­over coun­try — “they get bit­ter, they cling to guns or re­li­gion” as a way “to ex­plain their frus­tra­tions.”

The White House ex­plains that the pres­i­dent couldn’t make it to Get­tys­burg be­cause it “didn’t work sched­ule-wise.” On the other hand, Mr. Obama finds the time, sched­ule-wise, to make it to fundrais­ers, din­ners where he is the hon­oree, golf out­ings, even to a na­tional Planned Par­ent­hood con­fer­ence, a first for a sit­ting pres­i­dent. He even used the G-word to the abor­tion lobby, and no­body fainted. “Thank you, Planned Par­ent­hood,” he said. “God bless you.” That speech lasted 12 ½ min­utes, six times the length of the Get­tys­burg Ad­dress. But it’s fair to say that it wasn’t six times more im­por­tant.

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