NATIONAL PERVERSENESS

Louis said that he too is having more trouble with spelling. We used to think we were good at it.  He said, “Have you tried to spell assassination lately?”

Interestingly, I have. I’ve become a Civil War buff.  It’s obvious, but manages to be shocking, to see how those battles never ended.  The level of virulence is probably not much changed since then.  Our know-nothings know no more nothing than the Know-Nothings of the 19th century, though with all the attention ours get, it may seem like it. The emergence of Lincoln, his eloquence and compassion and backbone, is breathtaking. “I’m in love with Lincoln,” someone commented about an article in the current New York Times series about the war.  Me, too.  Still, one does occasionally wonder whether saving the Union was all it was cracked up to be, whether that war, or any war, did more good than harm.  I suppose if you were a slave or are a descendant of one, you wouldn’t wonder.

In 1863, the war at its bloodiest, Lincoln issued a proclamation setting aside the last Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving.  It was patently an effort at boosting morale, noting, optimistically, that the “theatre of conflict…has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.”  The part that wasn’t pep talk was sermon.  He summoned the Almighty at every turn, urging “humble penitence for our national perverseness.”  He knew his audience.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

 

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3 responses to “NATIONAL PERVERSENESS

  1. And to you, naybah!

  2. Serena Billmayer

    Looks like perverseness perseveres…
    Happy Thanksgiving to you too two to tu-tu.

  3. Wednesday night, my little brother allowed me to tell him my own version of the American Thanksgiving story. I surprised myself with my own cynicism. I like your version better.

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