We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Before I head off to do the Stations of the Cross - the most moving ritual in the Christian calendar - let's remember the greatest Republican President, killed 141 years ago today as he relaxed at the theater - one of his favorite diversions, besides memorizing Shakespeare and the Bible, reading the humor of the time, and just hanging out with the remarkable Seward, and his other buddies.
In those days, the President could just stroll over to his friend's houses, or hop on a horse and ride. All summer, he would commute daily, alone on his horse, from the Soldier's Home, until the death threats became too alarming.
And I owe the blog a review of Goodwin's bio of Lincoln, which I am finishing now. Can I say "spellbinding" without being cliched? Read it.
That guy was one hell of a non-political politician. 600,000 died in the war, which engaged 3 million Union soldiers. The righteousness of the war can still be debated (the popular vote for his re-election was very close, due a strong anti-war, "give-up" faction), but the weight of Lincoln's character cannot. His relentless sense of humor is a revelation, but most of it is lost. His capacity to deal serenely and kindly with political adversaries should set an example for all in that ugly trade.
Re the book, three small bits jump to mind, off the top of my head:
"If I were two-faced, do you think I would wear this one?"
"Revenge is suicide."
"I'd rather swallow my buck-antler chair than appoint Chase to the Court, but it was right for the country."
...and one bit, a letter to a friend from his wife, and I paraphrase "Thank God that my darling Abraham was re-relected. I owe over $27,000 to my New York dressmakers, and I could not hope to carry that debt without this job." That was a big credit card debt, back then. Her husband never knew. She was a shopaholic, and never really got over the death of her son.
Image: A montage of Lincoln and his Generals. Such a photo-op never actually occurred. They were far too busy, and the wonderful General Grant was the last guy to get in a photo. He preferred sleeping on the ground, in the company of his troops. How Grant tolerated being President, I do not know. Maybe booze helped him get through it.