Saturday, October 25, AD 2014

Something for the weekend.  The score to the movie Lincoln (2012).  Go here to read my review of this masterpiece.  One hundred and fifty years ago there was little doubt now that Lincoln was going to be re-elected and the Union was going to win the War.  The Civil War had just a little over six months to go, as did Lincoln’s life.

After he was re-elected, Lincoln on November 10, 1864 responded to a serenade outside the White House with this brief speech:

It has long been a grave question whether any government, not too strong for the liberties of its people, can be strong enough to maintain its own existence, in great emergencies.
On this point the present rebellion brought our republic to a severe test; and a presidential election occurring in regular course during the rebellion added not a little to the strain. If the loyal people, united, were put to the utmost of their strength by the rebellion, must they not fail when divided, and partially paralized, by a political war among themselves?  But the election was a necessity.
We can not have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us. The strife of the election is but human-nature practically applied to the facts of the case. What has occurred in this case, must ever recur in similar cases. Human-nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak, and as strong; as silly and as wise; as bad and good. Let us, therefore, study the incidents of this, as philosophy to learn wisdom from, and none of them as wrongs to be revenged.
But the election, along with its incidental, and undesirable strife, has done good too. It has demonstrated that a people’s government can sustain a national election, in the midst of a great civil war. Until now it has not been known to the world that this was a possibility. It shows also how sound, and how strong we still are. It shows that, even among candidates of the same party, he who is most devoted to the Union, and most opposed to treason, can receive most of the people’s votes. It shows also, to the extent yet known, that we have more men now, than we had when the war began. Gold is good in its place; but living, brave, patriotic men, are better than gold.
But the rebellion continues; and now that the election is over, may not all, having a common interest, re-unite in a common effort, to save our common country? For my own part I have striven, and shall strive to avoid placing any obstacle in the way. So long as I have been here I have not willingly planted a thorn in any man’s bosom.
While I am deeply sensible to the high compliment of a re-election; and duly grateful, as I trust, to Almighty God for having directed my countrymen to a right conclusion, as I think, for their own good, it adds nothing to my satisfaction that any other man may be disappointed or pained by the result.
May I ask those who have not differed with me, to join with me, in this same spirit towards those who have?
And now, let me close by asking three hearty cheers for our brave soldiers and seamen and their gallant and skilful commanders.

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5 Responses to Elections

  • I hope the dumbed-down populace of the USA are in the minority in these mid term elections.
    10 years ago, who would have ever dreamed that the USA would be dragged down the path of a socialist utopia in emulation of the soviet union? Even your freedoms under the UN charter are being eroded. If this present incumbent president and his minions aren’t neutered at the mid terms, and booted out of office in 2016, you will no longer be the Land of the Free, and its doubtful you are now.
    If the socialsist stay in power, I foresee a mass exodus of good Americans to the “real” free world, Down under – Oz and NZ 😉

  • Well Don, after the 2012 fiasco when it came to my predictions I have been rather silent on that front this year. All I will say now is that the Republicans will pad their House majority, probably have no net loss when it comes to governors and stand an excellent chance to take the Senate.

  • Yes Don.
    Reading the reports from afar, it certainly seems that way, and I pray you’re right. There is a lot of commentary on our Kiwiblog that always comes up in elections, in NZ, Oz, USA an UK.
    Because I visit a few US blogs, I’m getting a lot of US conservative campaign e-mails for support – if they only knew – what could a poor retired builder and deacon from NZ offer, apart from prayers ? 🙂

  • Prayers are always welcome as I tell people when they offer to pray for an ink stained wretch of an attorney like me! 🙂

  • “We can not have free government without elections;” Abraham Lincoln’s speech here is so timely. The news on WBAL Sunday night told of two early voting machines “flipping” votes from one party to the other. “Hope and Change” Who knew that it would be your electoral Hope that would be Changed?

Review of the Lincoln Trailer

Thursday, October 18, AD 2012

The idea of reviewing movie trailers I find somewhat humorous, but I think that Grace Randolph in the above video does a good job of attempting such a review in regard to the Lincoln movie by Spielberg being released in November.  In an earlier post last week, which may be read here, I took issue with Spielberg’s historical ignorance and/or political bias regarding how, in his view, the Democrat and Republican parties have switched positions.  This will not deter me from attending the film, as I attempt not to allow the politics of those involved with a film to influence my opinion of the film.  Having said that, like Ms. Randolph I have concerns as to whether Daniel Day-Lewis will create the suspension of disbelief to allow us to view him as Lincoln in the film.

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6 Responses to Review of the Lincoln Trailer

Lincoln’s Voice

Tuesday, September 18, AD 2012

A trailer for the Lincoln movie, directed by Stephen Spielberg, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, which is being released on November 9th.  I will go see it and review it.  Heaven knows that I doubt that it could possibly be worse than Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter.  Capturing Lincoln on film is difficult.  He was a complex man who lived in complex times, and trying to say much of substance about him in a two hour film is probably a futile undertaking.

Some criticisms of the trailer have arisen, most centering on the objection that Day-Lewis does not sound like Lincoln.  Of course, since Lincoln died 22 years before the first primitive sound recordings we will never hear his voice.  We do have a number of contemporary accounts as to his voice.

Lincoln’s voice was, when he first began speaking, shrill, squeaking, piping, unpleasant; his general look, his form, his pose, the color of his flesh, wrinkled and dry, his sensitiveness, and his momentary diffidence, everything seemed to be against him, but he soon recovered. –William H. Herndon letter, July 19, 1887

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3 Responses to Lincoln’s Voice

  • ” … Disenthrall ourselves … ” – that is a good way to consider media bias, for listeners and, especially for spokesmen.

    He said, “Study the Constitution!

    Let every American, every lover of liberty, every wellwisher to his posterity swear by the blood of the Revolution never to violate in the least particular the laws of the country, and never to tolerate their violation by others.

    As the patriots of ’76 did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and laws let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor.

    Let every man remember that to violate the law is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own and his children’s liberty …

    Let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges,
    Let it be written in primers, in spelling books and in almanacs,
    Let it be preached from the pulpit,
    proclaimed in legislative halls,
    and enforced in courts of justice.

    And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation, and, in particular,
    a reverence for the Constitution.”

  • Spare us O Lord, from what a Spielberg/Doris Kearns-Goodwin view of the War for Southern Independence and the Lincoln presidency would be. I’ll just guess, slavery first, middle, and last as the one and only issue of importance.

    They filmed this here in Richmond, ironically enough.

  • I think Tom that the main problem in the film will be a “dumbing down” of Lincoln. Lincoln could put more thought into fewer words than any other writer I have encountered, and complexity and films today are a poor match. However, I will reserve judgment until I see the film. (Having Sally “You like me! You really like me!” Fields as the First Lady might add a nice touch of accurate hysteria to Mary Todd Lincoln!)