Eric Yollick, The Golden Hammer
One morning in 2012, I stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial Reflection Pool in the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The air was cool. There were not many tourists there, because it was early and most of the people around were on their way to work.
It was a beautiful scene. I could see the Capitol building in the distance, the Smithsonian buildings, other memorials, and several Cabinet Department headquarters.
Mostly, however, I could see the giant statue of Abraham Lincoln which Daniel Chester French and the Piccirilli brothers completed in 1922. In that depiction, President Lincoln sits in quiet contemplation. The inscription says, “In this temple as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.”
The Lincoln Memorial is usually a quiet place where people come seriously to contemplate for what America stands. Lincoln himself is a great symbol of what Americanism actually is. That’s why his Memorial is so perfect.
Abraham Lincoln never spoke in sound bites and he never appeared on Good Morning America. When he ran for President in 1860, people considered campaigning by the candidate himself unacceptable behavior. That’s why you don’t see dozens of written campaign speeches. In those days, candidates ran on whom they really were. Their supporters campaigned for them. It was an electoral system that emphasized the person running rather than the quality of the spin garbage their campaign spewed into the media.
Lincoln was an intellectual who had no formal education. He was an adventurer who wanted only to see and experience America. He loved his wife and his children despite how difficult those people actually were. He loved all of the people of the United States of America despite how difficult those people actually were.
The concept of Abraham Lincoln tweeting personal criticism of anyone is unfathomable. It’s not unthinkable technologically. It’s unthinkable ethically.
The concept of Abraham Lincoln writing or communicating under a fake profile or even an temporary fake name is unfathomable. It’s unthinkable ethically. Lincoln only uttered ideas for which he was willing to put his own name.
Lincoln certainly criticized men for their decisions, but his criticism never rose to a personal level. He never referred to anyone as a “bad” person. He never condemned the person, even when he condemned their actions or their ideas.
Unlike modern politicians, who are so sensitive that they can’t even be in the same room as someone who would dare criticize anything they have done, Lincoln suffered withering criticism from the national and Washington press. Yet he never complained about “fake news,” he never leveled accusations at the reporters, and he never tried to claim that he spoke for God. Lincoln focused on right versus wrong without any narcissism whatsoever.
Lincoln often laughed at himself, his own mistakes, and his infirmities.
His ethics, his behavior, and his life story are American.