Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. In recent days, regrettable errors regarding Gettysburg and Lincoln have surfaced in the news, and our president is responsible for the worst of them.
On October 31, we learned that the Gettysburg National Military Park and local officials, who prepared two years for a presidential visit, according the Washington Times, weren’t going to get one.
Instead, they were getting: Sally Jewell, secretary of the interior. According to this report, the White House did not give an answer as to why Barack Obama would not appear—though this edgy exchange that took place on Twitter this morning between White House official Dan Pfeiffer and Ron Fournier of the National Journal tells us where the president’s priorities are. Here’s a hint: It’s not our nation’s history.
In it Fournier asked Dan Pfeiffer: “Serious question: what is on his schedule that is more important than Gettysburg anniversary?” Pfeiffer responded with apparent bluster, “Oh, I don't know, there's this whole website thing that someone suggested might destroy the Dem Party.” Saucy.
On top of this, it was discovered last week that a plaque honoring Lincoln at Northeastern Illinois University reads: “THIS BUILDING IS DEDICATED TO PUBLIC SERVICE HONORING THE MEMORY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN, DEMOCRAT.” Needless to say, sensitivities rose.
A cookie-cutter press release by campus officials stated: “According to building archives, the word democrat was used because Lincoln was an advocate for democracy—the political or social equality of all people.” This is curious, considering that the Democrats were alive and well when the plaque came into being. Intentional or not, the plaque could only lead to misinformation. But do we have a classic case of revisionist history on our hands?
To this question you might sneer, but now, I present the coup de grâce: Barack Obama altered the Gettysburg Address in a recorded recitation, leaving out “under God” in the line “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom." See for yourself:
Words are words, particularly those with no small amount of historical importance. This is impossible to justify. It’s not an error of omission; it’s an error of commission.
Four score and seven years ago Calvin Coolidge was president. I wish that were still the case.