Saturday, December 15, 2012
Lincoln: A movie worth watching
I’m not an avid movie goer or critic but I’ve been waiting for this movie for a long, long time because pundits have talked about what the movie means to them. I’ve always loved history, so I knew I was going to love this movie. The movie did not disappoint.
I didn’t want anything to deprive me of seeing this movie even though it’s the first time since I’ve been married that I’ve attended a movie by myself. I got online yesterday and ordered my ticket for the early showing just in case it was sold out. Once inside I realized that the movie was not going to be sold out; I settled in with the other 50 people and watched the movie in comfort; trying not to think about the $9.75 that I paid for a small popcorn and drink..:-)
I wish I would have read the book the movie was based on, because it would have given me more background on who Preston Blair, William Steward, Thaddeus Stevens and others were and the role they played on passing the 13th amendment. I liked the backroom deals that were made to secure some votes but today we chose to give “pork barrel” deals a bad name. The movie emphasized the importance of not letting the “perfect be the enemy of the good.” I was setting pretty well near the top but I could still hear a woman from down below say “vote yes” as the politicians were casting their votes for the 13th amendment.
In the perfect world we could require all 535 members of Congress to watch the movie because believe it or not, the legislators back then were much more rowdy and predictable than our politicians could ever get away with. The movie could show today’s lawmakers what they could become were it not for cameras. It could also show that we can take any word or phrase and invoke praise or demonetization from it. I will be reminded of this movie when Congress brings up comprehension immigration reform, just as soon as this fiscal cliff mess is over with. Like in this movie, the arguments will be made based on people’s theories and not on the facts that are presented for a vote.
Abraham Lincoln will always be one of my favorite presidents because he came from humble beginnings and he never forgot that. He understood others better than they understood themselves. Some have said he was a racist but others say he was just a man of his time and a visionary. He, by his own admission was a strange man and several books that have been written about him; reflect that. During the most intense fighting of the Civil War, President Lincoln spent a good deal of his time handing out federal jobs to his opponents because he didn’t want to leave any stone unturned to secure the votes to pass the 13th amendment. The movie shows where Lincoln lies, cheats, tiptoes around legality, and wonders out loudly how much power the president of United States really has under the constitution. I would much rather have these versions of history than the superficial one I was taught in school.
It has been said that President Lincoln did not free the slaves but I disagree with that theory because he signed the Emancipation Proclamation which was the prerequisite to the 13th amendment. The Emancipation Proclamation was at first a military order, then a law passed by Congress freeing all slaves in the confederate states. Lincoln said if the confederacy considered slaves property, then the northern forces had the right to confiscate property and thereby free them.
Abraham Lincoln was considered a partisan Republican but he was not an ideologue. In 1861, Lincoln imposed the first federal income tax by signing the Revenue Act to pay for the Civil War. Lincoln and Congress agreed to impose a 3 percent tax on annual incomes over $800. He also was the first to make low cost housing available with his Homestead Act. He also used government support to build the, Transcontinental Railroad against opposition from the southern congressman. He was a president who knew the true meaning of government “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.”