Thursday, May 19, 2016

Lincoln and Douglas Meet Laurel and Hardy

I can’t imagine living in any other time than this one. I’m not especially fleet of foot, agile of intelligence or well-coordinated so I’d have made a terrible pioneer moving westward ho as a minion of manifest destiny back when as a nation we were clinging to the Eastern Seaboard.

I got thinking about days gone by and nights of future passed while reading some of the excerpts from the Megyn Kelly/Donald Trump cage match that proved to be something a little less than expected in terms of histrionics and fireworks. The biggest complaint I kept reading was that we really didn’t learn any more about “the presumptive Republican presidential candidate” than we knew beforehand.

I was a kid in grammar school when Barry Goldwater ran against Lyndon Johnson but I watched grown-ups, my dad included, who had always seemed to be Republicans, physically squirm when Goldwater made a headline or was on the tube. I’m seeing that on a lot of faces of people I think are Republicans now.

I’m pretty sure after the Democratic Party convention in Philadelphia in July, I’ll have that same look for much the same reasons.  Actually, that could mean about 40% of us will be pretty goofy looking through November (since I’ll assume that’s about all of us registered whatevers who’ll bother to vote) because it’s easier to bellyache on Social Media than to work in order to fix things.

I’m grateful there was no Facebook or Twitter when Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln debated one another as they sought to be elected to the US Senate from Illinois, though in light of the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln might not have fared too badly on Twitter.

Maybe the disquieting part for me is how (still) true the first line of Lincoln’s acceptance speech upon receiving his party’s nomination for Senate (on June 16, 1858) rings and how seamlessly yesterday and today flow together at a moment when we might better worry about tomorrow. 
-bill kenny

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