The Log Cabin-Abe Lincoln, Anyone Can be Prez. Was It A Lie?
Was it ever the truth? Or a form of blind idealism our teachers wished for us.
Many of us were taught, we too could grow up to be president. Even us rag-bag kids in handmedowns either too small or too big, scuffed shoes that would never shine cause they were down to the bone of the leather, crowded in 65 to a classroom, sharing desks, not enough books to go around, never ever being able to take a book home.
Even those of us whose parents spoke heavily accented English, even those whose parents spoke no English at all. We were told we could become president. Just like Abe, honest Abe, that we could study law by candlelight in our shot gun houses and our salt boxes and we could ride the rails to stump and call out to our sisters and brothers to follow our brilliant day forward for flag and country.
Cept, I guess is turns out, this dream of dreams wasnt for girls. For a long time, it wasnt for Catholics. It wasnt for people who went to the ‘wrong schools.’ It wasnt for people who only knew good farmers and bad agri programs from the gov-mint, and it wasnt for anyone who didnt go to brick building law school, and then it became not reachable unless one had friends in high places.
Then it became unreachable unless one had kajillion dollars saved back from a minimum wage job while paying back huge student loan debt. Then it became unreachable if you were not mediagenic, if you didnt look a certain helmet-headed way. Then it became out of reach if you had a plan with specifics instead of hoo-hah about how bad so and so is, and how good I’ma gonna make it for you boys… oh yes, and you girls too.
When I was a child, I loved Abraham Lincoln, for he lost beloved children and I remember weeping when I read how they came to tell him his little boy had died. I loved Abraham for he had a wife who seemed even to someone from the backwoods ignorance we all were nailed into, ‘teched’ in the head in a way she couldnt help.
And I loved him for trying to dream up strange, unusual solutions and for his lack of speechwriters and lack of handlers and for his incredibly homely appearance and his Ichabod Crane-ness and the impossible task of trying to mend mothers across the nation who had been draping the crepe for the rest of their lives because their own dear boys, light of their lives, were dead and gone.
I wanted to believe that if Abe, even in all his travail, could lead a nation, so could we all. And I look out on the current political landscape that is barren of statesmen, and larded with complaint and condemnation and criticism… and think “Four Score and…”
And I realize because as a child, I read so many of Abe’s speeches, it is why today, I know the difference between people with incontinent words who dribble all over the place leaking waste material everywhere… and a statesman who says something in a time of huge torn fabric of a nation, that helps to sew back, to create, inspire… instead of fall into a slough of insipid.
I know you know the difference too. And I wonder, do those who speak waste-matter incessantly, know that we know and find them the low point of leadership in our nation? That they will be remembered for being completely full of swill no matter how they try to redeem their reputations later?