Lincoln movie and more
Easy Does It
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.