Mr. Trump, You Are Not Lincoln: And This is Why.

“They always said, ‘Lincoln, nobody got treated worse than Lincoln,’” Trump continued. “I believe I am treated worse.”-May 3, 2020

No, Donald Trump. I have read about Lincoln. I have been to his store in New Salem. And to his home in Springfield, Illinois. You’re no Abraham Lincoln. And I doubt you have a clue about how he was treated.

First, Abe Lincoln was broke for most of his too short life. He was not given millions by his father to make his way in the world, but make his way he did. By working hard. By reading about everything he could get his hands on. The Bible. Shakespeare. Euclid.

Mr. Trump, that Abe Lincoln pretty much was self taught. To be a surveyor. A small settlement storekeeper and a lawyer and statesman.

Let’s talk storekeeper. That’s something you might be able to understand as we talk about the president you have the nerve to compare yourself with, Mr. Trump. As a young man, Lincoln ran a store which indeed went broke leaving Lincoln and his partner owing the vast sum of $1100. Yes, that was one thousand one hundred U.S. dollars. Sounds like what you spend on caddy tips.

Historians tell us the equivalent dollar value today totes up to about $25,000.00.

Well, Lincoln repaid every penny of the debt. Alone. No bankruptcy for Abe Lincoln. No daddy to bail him out. No Russians wrote a check.

Yes, unlike you Donald, Abe Lincoln did a bunch of real jobs. Storekeeper. Postmaster. Surveyor. Lawyer. Legislator. Oh, and. he was President. Lincoln even obtained a patent for a useful invention after he and a friend had traveled the river enough to realize it was difficult to get over shallow places with a raft. You ever invent anything useful, Mr. Trump.

And after spending years paying his dues as a circuit-riding lawyer, Lincoln finally made a little money, Mr. Trump. He defended the accused (instead of accusing the defenseless), he got himself elected to the Illinois State Legislature and for a single term was chosen by Whigs to be elected to serve in the U. S. House of Representatives.

And in his lone term in the Congress, Lincoln had the courage to set himself against a jingoistic President named Polk. Lincoln actually stuck his political neck out for a real principle, Mr. Trump, when he publicly questioned why and where the Mexican-American War got started. It earned Lincoln a nickname, too: “Spotty Lincoln.” But, I guess you already know all about nicknames — or, at least calling them.

And after Lincoln lost his House seat, he just went back to Illinois to be a real lawyer. A good lawyer for this new thing called railroads.

And once he saw that slavery was being written permanently into our constitutional structure by the Supreme Court, Lincoln made speeches. And he ran — unsuccessfully — for the Senate as a part of a new party that was for the most part against slavery: the Republicans. I know you heard of them, but I doubt you would recognize them then. They sure would not recognize you now.

And when Lincoln did get elected President, his campaign was based on a few modest letters he wrote about himself from Springfield. And his reputation earned from his speeches and the debates against the foremost politician of his day, Stephen A. Douglas.

But here is what you do not understand. Upon his election, unlike you, the Southern states took Lincoln so seriously that they threatened to leave the Union rather than surrender a lifestyle based on racial degradation and slavery. Lincoln even had to arrive in Washington guarded and in secret. You never did that.

And what greeted him as President was a war unlike any war ever fought in this Nation. And instead of fawning obsequious cabinet officers, Lincoln managed a group of men many of whom thought they should be president. And Lincoln fought the war.

And once that war was over — despite the generals. who could not win or would not fight or even fought maybe drunk — Lincoln said these words to our Nation: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

And then he was killed.

Among the number at the Lincoln bedside was Edwin M. Stanton, Lincoln’s Secretary of War. Historians still disagree on Stanton’s valediction to the departed President. Perhaps he said, “Now he belongs to the ages.” Others claim Stanton said, “Now he belongs to the angels.”

It little matters which was actually heard or said: for we know Mr. Lincoln will live on in the hearts of his countrymen long after you are numbered only with the infamous and forgotten.

Albert Turner Goins

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Albert Goins

Albert Goins

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