Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Lincoln’s Legacy Being Rewritten

Greetings from the Land of Lincoln. I’ve been spending this Fourth of July weekend traveling between my family’s homestead in East-Central Illinois and my wife’s hometown in Northern Illinois. During my travels, I came across an interesting article in the Rockford Register Star concerning how Conservatives are upset about the content of the video currently being played in the visitor’s center of the Lincoln Memorial.

The story was titled “Conservatives want their view on Lincoln video” and ran on Sunday, July 3. Unfortunately, the full article wasn’t available on line.

According to the article, the National Park Service has been buying up footage of conservative rallies in order to revise the decade-old display in the Lincoln Memorial Visitor’s Center. Conservatives believe the video, produced in 1994 with help of high school students from around the nation, implies Lincoln supported abortion, homosexuality, and other liberal causes.

Park Service documents released under a Freedom of Information Act request show the agency quickly responded to conservatives’ complaints about the video which is seen by the more than 4 million visitors who enter the memorial’s visitor’s center each year. The Park Service has spent more than $20,000 buying footage and revamping the video.

Some of the new footage for the video includes:
President Bush and his father, the former President Bush, walking down the steps of the memorial.
Protesters carrying signs reading: “Ban criminals, not guns,” “No more gun control,” and “Liberate Iraq.”
The October 16, 1995 Million Man March, which crowded the National Mall, but had its speakers on the Capital steps on the opposite end of the Mall.
At least three separate rallies of support for military action in Iraq and/or Afghanistan.

I’ve seen the video on more than one occasion. And, yes, it is probably more slanted towards the “liberal” side of the debate. However, the video was made by students to document some of the major movements that have taken place on the steps of the Memorial. It was not intended to say “Lincoln supported this cause.”

Lincoln was a Centrist. Numerous Lincoln initiatives were revolutionary for his time others were quite conservative. Unfortunately for the nation, his life was taken before we got to truly see how he would have healed the wounds of the Civil War. The Republican Party of today, especially the conservative wing of the party, is not the Party of Lincoln. As a nation, we should embrace Lincoln’s legacy of progressive reform and insightful leadership.


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