Point of View: What would Abe say?

How dare they? How dare today’s blasphemous Republican Party claim ascendancy as the “Party of Lincoln,” our 16th and greatest president, wise and learned, humble and devoted “Man of the Common People,” as Carl Sandburg described him. The Great Communicator, who spoke eloquently with honesty, sincerity, and truthfulness. Contrast our domestic insurgency and treasonous warring with the most horrific chapter in our history, the American Civil War. As Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address concluded:

“That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

How dare the party of Trump and McConnell which is “locked in thrall’ (Bart Gelman) to Trumpism perversely perpetuate The Big Lie to further cultivate national division and incitement to debase Abraham Lincoln? In 1858 Mr. Lincoln famously said, “A house divided cannot stand.” How stand we now?

Lincoln said, “We can succeed only by consent …The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new so must we think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves….” (Dec. 1, 1862, Lincoln address to Congress).

The current Republican Party has mobilized their favored “False Prophets” — the plutocrats, oligarchs and billionaires— to dupe and strip the people of their constitutional rights. Recall one manifest example, the trillion dollar-plus Trump Republican tax cut expressly for the wealthy and corporations, and, subsequently, to create the greatest wealth redistribution in world history” (Joe Scarborough). For the people? A new birth of freedom?

On Jan. 6, 2022, at a commemorative assembly at the U.S. Capitol, only one Republican, with her father, in the entire U.S. Congress found the spine to stand with their Democratic colleagues in memorializing the Jan. 6, 2020 somber event. And by their silence, in absentia, many Republicans, including Sen. Dan Sullivan, “proud Marine,” sworn to protect and defend, displayed for all America utter disdain for our democracy, the Constitution, and the rule of law, saying the violent and treasonous rioters were “only exercising their First Amendment rights” (Anchorage Daily News). How dare he?

Under a Republican Senate, this self proclaimed “Party of Law and Order,” in lock step with Trump and McConnell, has adroitly employed every authoritarian and tyrannical stratagem to mislead, trumpet conspiracies, and repeat lies until the lies become plausibly believable. Thus has Trump exhorted a fear and hatred of “the other,” black and brown, Asians, and Jews. This is their Great Replacement Message (B. Gelman).

As Lincoln said, “As our case is new so must we think anew and act anew.” Consider voting. The vote, our most priceless democratic institution, is facing a withering Republican attack at local, state, and federal levels. President Biden, speaking on Jan. 11, regarding legislation for new voting rights, said, “Not a single Republican has displayed the courage to stand up to a defeated president to protect (every) American’s right to vote.” For the People?

What would Abe say of this? Stunned speechless. His cabinet was famously bipartisan. Lincoln endeavored to unite the Union. He pass ed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing 4 million slaves; signed the Homestead Act 1862, which offered ownership of land to freed slaves and women at little cost; and enacted so many other laws to rebuild America at that crucial time. At the war’s end he recognized that the planting season was approaching and declared that every Confederate soldier was to retain his horse or mule, with the words, “Let ‘em up easy” in his Proclamation of Amnesty.

For the people! With unrestrained enthusiasm Mr. Lincoln would rally around President Biden’s recent proposals to Build Back Better. Yet, deplorably, Republicans see neither virtue nor beneficence in advancing every American. How vulgar, how barbaric this “Party of Lincoln.” Carl Sandburg, in “The Long Shadow of Lincoln: A Litany,” wrote “The earth laughs, the sun laughs / over every wise harvest of man, / over man looking toward peace / by the light of the hard old teaching: We must disenthrall our selves.”

Peter Mjos is a retired Anchorage physician.