We are hungry for heroes. I am, anyway. For as long as I can remember, mine has been Abraham Lincoln. The latest documentary currently running on the History Channel is just adding more fuel to that fire.
While no one is a true saint, Lincoln still exists, for me, in rarified air. He was the right person for the job during the years of the Civil War. His mental strength and acuity, the emotional roller coaster he rode, alongside the ability to keep everything in check and continue to find ways to act rationally and thoughtfully in the midst of personal loss and a monumental national crisis—it’s all astounding to me.
I suppose if one were to compare, FDR might give him a run for his money. But to me, Lincoln is the one who stands above all the others before and since. And not just because he was six feet four. He learned from his mistakes and, political expediency aside, came to know that “states’ rights” was a cliched excuse, a weak argument, and slavery was an abomination.
He also had a knack for zeroing in on the right words.