Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lincoln's Birthday

Today is Abraham Lincoln's birthday, 1809, & a fit time for us to meditate on the ironies of history. Lincoln is hailed as the Liberator of Slaves, yet he despised black people in the most racist terms, & offered a constitutional amendment to secure slavery forever.

Hailed as the Saviour of the Union, he was actually the Annihilator of the Constitution. Praised as reluctantly going to war, he actually broke his word to the South & forced them to fire the first shot. Hailed as a humanitarian, he broke with a 1800 year tradition of the law of war and waged war without quarter on civilians. Hailed as a statesman, he was nothing more than a pliable corporate lawyer & politician. Hailed as the Saviour of Freedom, he ruled the north with an iron hand, throwing more than 50,000 political enemies into prison ignoring constitutional rights & initiating a revolutionary reign of terror.

One thing we know for sure: the victors alone get to write the history books.