Will they mention Lincoln in San Francisco?
As San Francisco debates school name changes, we are reminded of how much this country has changed. Maybe the country has not changed, but many people do not appreciate its heritage, such as Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks, who is now dancing around what he said about the National Anthem.
Our family arrived in the U.S. in September 1964. By February 1965, we were learning about snow in Wisconsin and celebrating an important birthday. Our teacher remembered that Abraham Lincoln was born on a day like this in 1809. She spoke at length about the man and his character and even had a tear in her eye when she called him "The Great Emancipator."
To say the least, it was one of those grade school sessions that stays with you for a long time. I had not heard anyone speak about President Lincoln that way since our Great Uncle Joaquin, a judge and law professor in Cuba, would tell us about the Gettysburg Address when we visited him in Havana. He admired Lincoln as much as anybody and would have been enraged at those who want to delete his name today.
As my old grade school teacher said that morning, no one is indispensable in a democracy. After all, democracies are based on laws, not men. However, President Lincoln comes as close to indispensable as any American ever, as Scott Johnson wrote in 2016:
Today is of course the anniversary of the birth of America's greatest president, Abraham Lincoln. As a politician and as president, Lincoln was a profound student of the Constitution and constitutional history. Perhaps most important, Lincoln was America's indispensable teacher of the moral ground of political freedom at the exact moment when the country was on the threshold of abandoning what he called its "ancient faith" that all men are created equal.
Yes, he was the closest thing to indispensable in U.S. history! Perhaps we can pass that information to those in San Francisco who don't understand it.
So make sure you tell your kids about Abraham Lincoln today. They may not hear about him in certain school districts.
Image: Alexander Gardner.