Doubtful it will ever see print but my letter to the Chicago papers today is not exactly a "happy birthday Abe".
“Any people anywhere…have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government…This is a most valuable and sacred right” thus said Congressman Abraham Lincoln in 1848. This is difficult to square with the “crusade to preserve the union Lincoln” of the 1860s. Assassinated within days of Lee’s surrender he passed unscathed into immortality and untainted by the vindictiveness, corruption and scandal that followed under Reconstruction. The assault on the Constitution that began under his administration continues today and there is not one of the original ten amendments he was sworn to protect that he did not violate. He refused to meet with Southern peace commissioners. His political and military miscalculations resulted in 620,000 casualties or half of the Americans who have died in all our wars combined. The consolidation of political and economic power, which began under his watch, has led us to the twin tyrannies of corporate conglomerates and intrusive government that bedevil us today.
He preserved the union? A “union” is a voluntary association of equals. You cannot preserve a union by force any more than you can preserve a marriage by battery. Dig deeper, read critically, don’t settle for anyone’s mythology. Understanding Lincoln is key to understanding America in ways we have never had the courage to do so before.