“Lincoln” A Commentary by Daniel McNeet

by Daniel McNeet on November 28, 2012

Good day, good people.

I had a rewarding experience recently. I would like to share it with you, and maybe you will be rewarded too if you experience it.

It is the story of one man’s dedication to overcome all obstructions no matter how for the betterment of humanity. He knew that oppression and repression were not nation builders. But equality of opportunity and freedom were.

For devotees of the English language: Scrofluous is an adjective. It means corrupt or degenerate.

The rewarding experience is a motion picture about Abraham Lincoln’s struggle to get twenty Democratic members of the House of Representatives in the United States Congress to vote for the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The Senate passed it on 8 April 1864. Lincoln wanted the House to pass it no matter the cost or how it was done during the last months of the American Civil War. The House finally passed the Amendment on 31 January 1865.

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The crux of the problem and the need for the Amendment was the Emancipation Proclamation. It was an executive order issued to the executive agencies of the United States on 1 January 1863. It was signed by Lincoln pursuant to his constitutional authority as commander-in-chief. It freed the slaves in the ten-southern states which were in rebellion. He was concerned when the war was over, and it was about to be, his executive order might be found by the Supreme Court to be temporary and the freedom of the slaves would have ended. The dedicated anti-abolitionist southern Democrats in the House who were against compromise were up against a Lincoln who demanded passage before the end of the war. His allies were the Republican Party moderates and the young members of the Republican Party whom were anti-slavery zealots.

Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, sent clandestinely three emissaries to Washington during the time of the Amendment’s debate to negotiate the terms for peace. The emissaries failed, because Davis wanted the ten states to continue to engage in slavery, deprive people of freedom and return the ten states to the status quo before the war. This was counter to Lincoln’s plan for reconstruction. He did not want to punish the south, but he was not going to allow slavery to continue either. The Amendment was adopted on 6 December 1865 after the assassination of Lincoln 14 April 1865.

Lincoln, his Secretary of State William H. Seward, conspired with three others whom engaged in the actual bribery and cajoling of some of the vulnerable-Democratic members of the House. They succeeded in persuading Democrats to defy their fellow-intractable Democrats. Also, Lincoln engaged successfully in cajoling entrenched Democrats to vote for the Amendment. Those who defected did the right thing for the American people and joined all the Republicans in passing the Amendment. Lincoln knew bigotry and racism were not national builders.

The American Civil War ended on 9 April 1865 with Robert E. Lee’s surrender of his Army of Northern Virginia. The horrors of the American Civil War are minimally displayed. Six hundred and twenty-five thousand Union and Confederate soldiers died and maybe as high as seven hundred and fifty thousand. Three hundred and thirty-eight thousand, two hundred and twenty-six were wounded.

Nothing has changed. Members of Congress are still being bribed. Unfortunately, their souls and votes they are selling are now not for the benefit of all Americans. But the votes are for the benefit of members of Congress whom are on the pad of big corporations and special-interest groups — self-interest and greed reigns.

Steven Spielberg’s direction and the screenplay by Tony Kushner were superb. The story moved with an excellent pace and was compact as to dialogue and fact. The movie was based on the book by Doris Kearns Goodwin Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. The color tone used for the photography was depressing and enhanced the impact of the theme, the desperate times in American history, the winter in Washington, D.C. and the lack of adequate heating in the White House for Lincoln.

Lincoln arrived at the right time and place in the United States. The average movie goer may not realize its total significance. Spielberg, a Jew, has made a major contribution to the betterment of our society. He has brought to the fore the embarrassing and ongoing present-day bigotry and racism in our society. Additionally and obliquely he brought to the forefront the lack of respect and intolerance among the anti-Semites, bigots, homomaniacs and racists that are unfortunately still present in our nation and are slithering through the sewers passing as respectables.

Daniel Politi wrote an article for The Slatest, “Poll: Majority of Americans Are Racists”, on 27 October 2012 with a Stanford University professor who helped develop the survey. “A full 51 percent of Americans explicitly express anti-black prejudice, up from 48 percent in 2008, according to the Associated Press. Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to express outright racial prejudice, 79 percent to 32 percent. But the implicit test found that the two are far closer in attitudes, with 55 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans having anti-black feelings.” Interesting how the Republicans’ attitudes toward blacks have changed since 1865.

The viewing of Lincoln is highly recommended. I believe the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will award Lincoln the Oscar for best picture and Steven Spielberg for best director. Daniel Day-Lewis will receive the Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln. Sally Fields is excellent as Mary Todd Lincoln and will at least receive a nomination for best actress, if not the Oscar.

What is your thought on the contribution the War between the States made to the betterment of the United States of America, if any?

Would public funding of elections correct and prevent the insidious never-ending scrofluous politicians from selling their souls and votes?

I hope this article will give you something to consider and discuss. To be successful you must understand other people’s opinions and care about them.

Many have asked me if it is alright to publish my weekly column with attribution on their blog, Facebook, website and/or forward it to another. Yes, you may do either or all. If you do, I thank you for the compliment. All Rights Reserved

Contacting me with comments and constructive criticisms at Daniel McNeet with honesty and pleasantness their constant companions will always be welcomed.

Stairway to Enlightenment

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

linda November 28, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Bravo Dan !!!!
We agree with all your observations……


Dr. Iur. Marco Carli December 27, 2013 at 11:22 am

Having grown up in South Africa during Apartheid, and being myself an indirect recipient of the practice, not because I am black, but because of my Italian origin I was deemed a ” 2nd Class White” by the Boer and the Anglos, I cannot help not drawing a parallel between the theme of this excellent post, and Apartheid in South Africa, and the past and present racial tensions in the USA. Though it correct to say that the American Civil War ended on the 9 April, 1865, at least as far as the military operations are concerned, it is certain that the prevailing attitudes for that conflict, setting aside the evident economic reasons, are still ongoing today.
As Apartheid in South Africa was started as a concept based on the mental axiom “God is White”, a notion promoted by the Dutch Evangelical Reformed Church, the whole concept of slavery and enslavement of the Black man in the Southern States of America has no doubt the same Christian matrix. This obsession within the Christian mindset, be it Catholic or Protestant, that they hold the undisputed truth about divinity and the origins of humanity, is the real root of the problem. And let’s face it within the ethos of the Three Abrahamic cults, Judaism, Christianity and Islam slavery and oppression of other human beings is perfectly in line with the will of God.
Abraham Lincoln was no doubt a great man, and a sincere humanist, and the film in itself was brilliant (I have seen already 4 times), but it takes a lot more than an amendment to a Constitution to defeat mental obscurantism and ignorance.


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