Gov. Bob McDonnell, the Obama-Lincoln Connection and All Apologies

“The proclamation issued by this Office designating April as Confederate History Month contained a major omission. The failure to include any reference to slavery was a mistake, and for that I apologize to any fellow Virginian who has been offended or disappointed.”

~Bob McDonnell, grovelling

That apology was rendered after the enourmous uproar that ensued after McDonnell told the Washington Post that slavery was not “significant” enough to be included in his proclamation of Confederate History Month.

“McDonnell said Tuesday that the move was designed to promote tourism in the state, which next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the war. McDonnell said he did not include a reference to slavery because “there were any number of aspects to that conflict between the states. Obviously, it involved slavery. It involved other issues. But I focused on the ones I thought were most significant for Virginia.”

Yeah…like slavery isn’t good for business?  I guess he figures that the mention of slavery might cut into their bottom line.  If you’re going to proclaim an entire month be devoted to the Civil War….then I believe you should be obligated to include and recognize ALL facets involved.  Not just the “highlights”.  I don’t care if it’s about tourism or not.  It’s history.  A history that shows Virginia as one of the largest slave-holders in our nation.

On April 4, 1865….just 12 days before the Civil war began…Abraham Lincoln entered Richmond, Virginia.  Richmond, the capital of the Confederate States of America had fallen to Union Forces just the day before.  So Lincoln found it necessary to be there…to walk the streets on foot.  Not to antagonize  and gloat.  Abraham Lincoln was one of those rare men that stood strong on principal…not popular opinion.  He’d made up his mind to end slavery.  He also was fully aware that taking on this daunting task was essentially political suicide.  But that didn’t factor into things.  How people viewed him personally didn’t factor into things.  He knew what was right and went about setting things straight.

As he walked the streets of Richmond that day in April, his son, Tad, stood beside him…holding tightly to his hand.  I wonder what it must have been like for him…only 12 years old….to watch a group of newly freed slaves fall to their knees in front of his father, with exclamations of  “Glory Hallelujah!”

It was here the President paused, and motioned for them to rise. “Don’t kneel to me,” he told them, “You must kneel only to God, and thank him for your freedom. Liberty is your birthright.  God gave it to you as he gave it to others, and it is a sin that you have been deprived of it for so many years.”

Looking back into history, we can clearly see and recognize that President Abraham Lincoln did the right thing.  We don’t question his cause.  But back then, he was a man standing alone.  His courage and integrity led our country out of the bankrupt institution of slavery and onto a path of opportunity and equity for all men.

Ten days after walking Richmond’s streets, Abraham Lincoln fell victim to assassin John Wilkes Booth.  I believe the greatest men in our history were those who stood alone with strong moral principle and a resolve to see matters to the very end.  We don’t see that much these days.  We see Republicans making death threats against Democrats.  We see political hatred.  We see our country divided….Republicans against Democrats.  Modern day Americans fighting against their fellow Americans….not with guns or cannons….but with political threats and dishonest practices.

There’s currently an uproar regarding Obama’s Health Care Reform.  I’m confused at the outrage.  His entire campaign was formed around this very issue.  But the angry response is proof of the demise of our political landscape.  No one expects a politician to do what he says he’s going to do.  They just assume and accept the lip-service.  If the people didn’t support Health Care Reform…then why did the majority of this country vote Barack Obama into office…knowing good and well that he planned to get started on Health Care as soon as he took office?

I personally respect a politician who actually does what he says he’s going to do.  I don’t care if they’re Republican or Democrat. Maybe this Health Care Reform bill will mark our nation’s history in a profound and positive way.  One that our children will look back on and wonder why anyone would object to such a thing.  Obama is a man standing alone right now.  Similar to Lincoln.  Lincoln was a Republican.  Obama is  Democrat.  Neither affiliation matters when it comes to a right and just cause.

Perhaps we should see the similarities…not the differences.  Lincoln, a republican….a life and career that runs parallel to Obama’s…a Democrat:

Look & Style

* Obama and Abraham Lincoln are both known to be open to new ideas and listen to criticism, and look for opinions from all sides.

* Obama and Abraham Lincoln are both prolific speech writers and strong orators with a sense of morality in their rhetoric.

* Obama and Lincoln are both tall and lanky. Both have a calming, confident demeanor and tone. Both men like to wear black.

Destiny

* Obama becomes the first African-American US President. Lincoln gave freedom to slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation.

*  Obama and Lincoln both were presidents during times of great crisis: Lincoln with Civil War and Obama with financial crisis and wars.

* Obama was born 100 years after Abraham Lincoln became President (1861/1961).

* Obama is inaugurated President 200 years after President Abraham Lincoln’s birth (1809/2009).

* Obama and Abraham Lincoln were both lawyers who practiced law in the State of Illinois.

* Obama and Abraham Lincoln were both US Senators representing the State of Illinois.

Early Years and the 2008 Campaign

* Obama is a Lincoln scholar and often quotes from Abraham Lincoln’s speeches, remarks, letters, and documents.

* Obama delivered a speech at the Official Opening of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library in Lincoln, Illinois in 2005.

* Obama announced his candidacy for President in Springfield, Illinois, the old state capital where Abraham Lincoln lived and served.

2009 Inauguration

* Obama’s Inauguration theme is taken from a line in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: “A New Birth of Freedom.”

* Obama and his family take a private night tour of the Lincoln Memorial days before Obama’s 2009 inauguration.

* Obama launches the official Presidential Inauguration Ceremonies with a speech at the Lincoln Memorial on January 18, 2009.

* Obama takes the Presidential Oath of Office on Lincoln’s Bible used at Lincoln’s first Presidential Inauguration in 1861.

* Obama dines on china replicas of the plates used by Lincoln during his presidency for Obama’s 2009 Inaugural Luncheon.

President Obama 2009

* President Obama attends the Grand Re-Opening of Ford’s Theatre on February 11, 2009 on eve of the Bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth.

* President Obama speaks at many functions on February 12, 2009 to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of Lincoln’s 1809 birth.

* President Obama opens Abraham Lincoln Hall at the National Defense University in Fort McNair, Washington on March 12, 2009.

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One Response

  1. It takes courage these days to even talk about the subjects in this post, at least in my part of the country. I agree with all you have to say, and I am tired of hearing selective history from politicians and special interest groups. At one time our congress contained mostly statesmen who voted for and promoted what was good for the entire country, not what will get them re-elected. As for the health care reform, the conservatives probably thought they could defeat it easily, just as they have done for the past 100 years. In the face of 4000 plus lobbyists with their millions of dollars, we have a president strong enough to get it done. Thanks for the post!

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