Saturday, July 02, 2005

what would Lincoln say?

Shamefully, I'm reading this political biography of Lincoln for work. It's exhuming long forgotten episodes and encounters in American history.

It's depressing me to think of what Lincoln might think of today's United States. Considering what a mess this country is in at the moment, I just want to cry. It's so upsetting to think of how we could have moved beyond 9/11 into a world that embraces tolerance. Nope, we have to fall back on that easy friend, fear.

I know a lot of people who like to talk about how the North should have let the South go, but that hurts considering I'm at heart a Southerner. I don't think the problem falls fundamentally with Southerners. I think everyone has to take into account the human flaws of well-intentioned people and their own fear.

On this Fourth of July weekend, I feel really proud to be an American because of our unique heritage. I love that I have lived in such different regions of the US (South, Mid-Atlantic, New England and New York -- which is its own region, in my opinion). I love finding pieces of myself in all these spaces. Yet shouldn't I feel that way about the whole world? It's so easy to start pointing fingers and saying that certain people make too many assumptions or consume without thinking. Stop pointing it out and start living a difference. I feel like a lot of Americans are slowly trying to do just that, but these aren't the people who get a spotlight.

Reading this book on Lincoln is exposing to me just how politically expedient even Lincoln was. It's nothing new. But I just wish we could have come a bit further in terms of the way we treat everyone aside from those who resemble the immediate demographics of the founding fathers.


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