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View Diary: The American System (205 comments)

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  •  "I am the President of the United States...clothed (10+ / 0-) immense power!"

    The current occupant of the office seems to be just realizing this fact.

    •  This aired during the first presidential debate (4+ / 0-)
      The irony of the new Lincoln trailer that ran after last night's presidential debate: neither man debating has a claim to Lincoln's legacy. Mitt Romney, a truly faceless grey man, stood on the podium and lied and lied and lied, dissembling without a second thought and changing his positions almost on the fly. Barack Obama, who can be so electrifying when he wants to be, was wooden and dull and refused to stand up for his beliefs or against Romney's lies, letting the challenger steamroll him in a way that Lincoln wouldn't have permitted.

      The new Lincoln spot showcases a president who refused to be a doormat and who refused to compromise his principles.
      •  Like Lincoln never stumbled.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stormicats, Justin93

        Lincoln is probably my favorite president but I hate the hero-making that we as humans seem to thrive on. To compare a storied creation of a president to Obama's one bad debate is just ridiculous. Presidents, and others we see as heroes, are people and they are flawed.

        (I do love the focus of that trailer though. Great way to tie it into a bigger ongoing story.)

        Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. Throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. --Mark Twain

        by Debby on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:22:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The point of the film wasn't lazy hero worship (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Debby, left turn

          In fact, more the opposite. That Lincoln could achieve all that he did in that environment, despite all the obstacles, was the entire point.

          •  well.... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            To compare any presidents (outside of perhaps FDR) to Lincoln is a bit unfair. And for all that Lincoln had to go through he was never viewed as some foreign-born "other" who was both of a different race and religion than the majority of the country. He never countered nearly as much obstruction within Congress. Never faced such a well-financed industry machine (right-wing media) that worked 24/7 spreading the gospel about how evil he was and how he wanted to destroy America. Never had to worry about focusing so much of his attention on foreign problems when he already had enough domestic headaches to worry about. And never inherited a country that was in such a dire economic situation.

            Of course his having to deal with that little thing known as the "Civil War" meant he still probably faced the biggest single challenge that any American president has ever had to stare down. And he came through. But he had his own problems and plenty of setbacks that almost cost him as well and fortunately for him we don't have these stored away on film stock for record. We don't know if he ever came across as looking weak in a speech or in any debate for that very same reason. Plus the distance of time helps his overall standing in the public's eyes (hell, even some Southerners acknowledge him as a great leader) as it does with most of the elite presidents of our far past. Most importantly let's not forget that the Lincoln moment we are discussing is a from a scene in a movie; a movie that can take liberties in how things played out and how an individual presented himself.

            •  Lincoln faced far sterner opposition (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              ...than the present president. Let's not kid ourselves here.

            •  Actually, we do know. He lost the debates (3+ / 0-)

              with Douglas, at least in the sense that Douglas got the Illinois Senate seat they were contesting. The reaction to the Gettysburg Address was initially total disdain. Political orators were expected to go on for at least an hour each, and the audience felt cheated.

              On the other side, few speeches in any country in any era aroused as much enthusiasm as Lincoln's Cooper Union address on Congress's power to limit slavery in the territories. The heart of the debate was Sen. Douglas's States Rights/Constitutional Originalism argument, which Lincoln took as his text, in the sense of a preacher preparing a sermon, and not just a lawyer with his brief.

              "Our fathers, when they framed the Government under which we live, understood this question just as well, and even better, than we do now."

              I fully indorse this, and I adopt it as a text for this discourse…

              What is the question which, according to the text, those fathers understood "just as well, and even better than we do now?"

              It is this: Does the proper division of local from federal authority, or anything in the Constitution, forbid our Federal Government to control as to slavery in our Federal Territories?

              He shredded Douglas's claims as if presenting a brief to the Supreme Court. He then went on to explore the pretended issues between the slave states and the Republicans, ending with a masterly summation.
              Holding, as they do, that slavery is morally right, and socially elevating, they cannot cease to demand a full national recognition of it, as a legal right, and a social blessing.

              Nor can we justifiably withhold this, on any ground save our conviction that slavery is wrong. If slavery is right, all words, acts, laws, and constitutions against it, are themselves wrong, and should be silenced, and swept away. If it is right, we cannot justly object to its nationality—its universality; if it is wrong, they cannot justly insist upon its extension—its enlargement. All they ask, we could readily grant, if we thought slavery right; all we ask, they could as readily grant, if they thought it wrong. Their thinking it right, and our thinking it wrong, is the precise fact upon which depends the whole controversy. Thinking it right, as they do, they are not to blame for desiring its full recognition, as being right; but, thinking it wrong, as we do, can we yield to them? Can we cast our votes with their view, and against our own? In view of our moral, social, and political responsibilities, can we do this?

              It remains the same question to this day, whether with the Redeemer Democrats after the Civil War who built Jim Crow; the Dixiecrats in the Civil Rights era; or the Southern Strategy Republicans since then.

              If racism, intolerance, bigotry, misogyny, and kleptocracy were right, we could not justly object to their extension—their enlargement. All that they ask, we could readily grant, if we thought these things right; all we ask, they could as readily grant, if they thought them wrong. And so forth.

              Nothing has changed, except that it is now the Republicans who have gone over to the Dark Side. But they can no longer cloud our minds in sufficient numbers to win national elections without cheating, and soon we will have the opportunity to undo their gerrymanders, as we have largely undone their voter suppression tactics.

              America—We built that!

              by Mokurai on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 12:22:01 PM PST

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          •  The point of the film wasn't, (0+ / 0-)

            but the point of that review seems to be. I loved the film, but it is a story told from a 150 year perspective. Using it to diss the current president is dumb.

            Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. Throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. --Mark Twain

            by Debby on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:04:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

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