I have to say that I think I got the easiest day to write a blog, since this Huffington Post article was published earlier this morning discussing the relevance of Lincoln’s words at Gettysburg to the Obama campaign:
Earlier, Wendy wrote about her strategies for reading (somewhat dense at times) nonfiction. Although she and I found our challenges in different parts of the address, I found that it was also helpful for me to put Gettysburg in the context of today’s political arena.
It’s hard not to. The apparent resemblances between Obama and Lincoln are almost eerie: the surface similarities of being from Illinois, being relatively unknown and rising to the top through a network of supporters arguably attracted by skilled rhetoric, but more importantly the stances the two have taken: the message of bridging together a divided America (even if it, as one may argue, might seem trite from the Obama campaign at this point), the message of bringing together Black and White (even though Lincoln, Will aptly points out, still very much considered Whites superior to Blacks), and the idea of “unfinished work.” These days in America, the idea of something being “unfinished” inevitably carries the spooky, unspoken connotation of Iraq and operations-gone-wrong, lives finished too early.
Mackey writes in the above-cited article:
The Union is still at risk as it was in 1863, as we see racial profiling, bigotry and violence based on sexual orientation, sexism thinly veiled as equality, and a growing flow of wealth into the hands of the few. Just as the Rebellion threatened the very existence of the Nation, so does the modern rot into the body politic today, fed by nearly a decade of corruption and fear.
It is time for [a] New Gettysburg Address, to put this Union back on the proper path of liberty and democracy.
So I ask you: was Lincoln’s address at Gettysburg one of a kind, the political articulation of zeitgeist (spirit of the time)? Or could it be re-worked into a modern-day expression? And, do you agree with Mackey- does it need to be?