At Last: A Gettysburg Address America Can Be Proud Of
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  • Gene


  • John

    Finally–a new Progressive history _all_ Americans can be proud of!

    Perhaps the greatest shame, and there are many shames, is that it took so long! (It is certainly in the top five shames.)

    It is long past time to set aside our quibbles, squabbles, petty differences, and outrageous divisions to unite together under the true diversity of Progressive leadership, to finally–finally!–move Forward to a better, more inclusive, more socially just America, the America of which all of us–all of us who matter–have always dreamed! And all paid for by taxes on the reactionary rich!

    Thank you, Professor Mead, for this spiritual message on an already fine, leisurely Sunday morning. May Gaia’s blessings, in the form of clear policy preferences and the harmony they inspire, gently rain down upon you this day and always.

  • Surfed

    My eyes started glazing two and a half paras in. It reads exactly like it would sound in a mandatory diversity class. Excruciating.

  • Anthony

    WRM, satirical point of essay well taken; permit me to add that Lincoln and founding fathers were noteworthy not because they had credentials or property; they were noteworthy because they happen to be men of broad learning, vision, and insight. They were men prepared to defer to their own number (Franklin, Madison, Hamilton, et al) who showed especially sharp insight – Men a far cry from those tarred by your Quick Take’s satirical undertone.

  • Jim.

    The old metanarratives beat whatever novel nonsense you care to name every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

    There’s. reason some things become “cliched”. The reason is, they’re better than the standard run of what we see.

  • Josh Kilroy

    Successful satire needs a light touch.

  • Corlyss

    @ Jim

    Good post. Pithy. I like pithy.

  • Impressed

    Professor Mead,

    This is fantastic.


  • trevalyan

    Some high quality snark. A little -too- much focus on the “armed forces” in the revised copy, though. At least one paragraph should have been dedicated to “Today, at my direction,” and, “Shortly after taking office, I directed my Secretary of War to immediately resolve the armed conflict with regional groups.”

  • dearieme

    “Benjamin Franklin was a pseudo-scientist, whose so-called ‘discovery’ that lightening was electricity was published prior to any meaningful peer review.” So-called indeed: there are some cruel souls who suspect that he made no such discovery but rather framed a (successful) hypothesis and passed it off as a discovery. In other words, they believe he never performed the kite experiment. Me, I ask, can they really expect me to believe that a politician lied? Shame on them.

  • SC Mike

    Quite nice. You might also enjoy Peter Novig’s PowerPoint of Lincoln’s address:

  • Mark Sherman

    Professor Mead turns it up to 11! Well done Professor!


  • Scott

    While that is a sad commentary on what we’ve become, it is so on the mark that I hereby declare it a Via Meadia instant classic.

  • Angel Martin

    Outstanding ! the difference in length is also a key feature

  • Gary L

    Lol! This ranks up there with another great satire of an American founding document (though it’s approaching its source from the opposite end of the spectrum…..)

    WHEN THINGS get so balled up that the people of a country got to cut loose from some other country, and go it on their own hook, without asking no permission from nobody, excepting maybe God Almighty, then they ought to let everybody know why they done it, so that everybody can see they are not trying to put nothing over on nobody.
    All we got to say on this proposition is this: first, me and you is as good as anybody else, and maybe a damn sight better; second, nobody ain’t got no right to take away none of our rights; third, every man has got a right to live, to come and go as he pleases, and to have a good time whichever way he likes, so long as he don’t interfere with nobody else. That any government that don’t give a man them rights ain’t worth a damn; also, people ought to choose the kind of government they want themselves, and nobody else ought to have no say in the matter. That whenever any government don’t do this, then the people have got a right to give it the bum’s rush and put in one that will take care of their interests. Of course, that don’t mean having a revolution every day like them South American yellow-bellies, or every time some jobholder goes to work and does something he ain’t got no business to do. It is better to stand a little graft, etc., than to have revolutions all the time, like them coons, and any man that wasn’t a anarchist or one of them I.W.W.’s would say the same. But when things get so bad that a man ain’t hardly got no rights at all no more, but you might almost call him a slave, then everybody ought to get together and throw the grafters out, and put in new ones who won’t carry on so high and steal so much, and then watch them…….
    This is the Declaration of Independence, translated into American” by H.L. Mencken in 1921. The proto-elitist sage of Baltimore wrote that “it must be obvious that more than one section of the [Declaration] is now quite unintelligible to the average American of the sort using the Common Speech…… When, during the Wilson-Palmer saturnalia of oppressions [1918-1920], specialists in liberty began protesting that the Declaration plainly gave the people the right to alter the government under which they lived and even to abolish it altogether, they encountered the utmost incredulity. On more than one occasion, in fact, such an exegete was tarred and feathered by shocked members of the American Legion, even after the Declaration had been read to them. What ailed them was simply that they could not understand its Eighteenth Century English.”

    Whether or not defenders of the Declaration were actually tarred and feathered in the late years of the Wilson administration, Mencken’s contention that most Americans cannot comprehend the Declaration is probably even truer today than it was in 1921, thanks to blue-state advances in educational practice. And of course, Mencken’s pervasive contempt for middle-class America has been adopted enthusiastically by our contemporary intelligentsia. Ironically, Mencken, an aristocrat by heart, would have been appalled by the political trends which inspired WRM’s satire.

  • It was so good that I couldn’t stand to read it through. Under international law it is clearly an enhanced interrogation technique.

  • Bob N

    The Gettysburg Address as Eisenhower would have written it. “I haven’t checked these figures but 87 years ago, I think it was, a number of individuals organized a governmental setup here in this country, I believe it covered certain Eastern areas, with this idea they were following up based on a sort of national independence arrangement and the program that every individual is just as good as every other individual. Well, now, of course, we are dealing with this big difference of opinion, you might almost call it a civil disturbance, although I don’t like to appear to take sides or name any individuals, and the point is naturally to check up, by actual experience in the field, to see whether any governmental setup with a basis like the one I was mentioning has any validity and find out whether that dedication by those early individuals will pay off in lasting values and things of that kind.

    Well, here we are, at the scene where one of these disturbances between different sides got going. We want to pay our tribute to those loved ones, those departed individuals who made the supreme sacrifice here on the basis of their opinions about how this thing ought to be handled. And I would say this. It is absolutely in order to do this.

    But if you look at the overall picture of this, we can’t pay any tribute — we can’t sanctify this area, you might say — we can’t hallow according to whatever individuals’ creeds or faiths, or sort of religious outlooks are involved about this very particular area. It was those individuals themselves, including the enlisted men, very brave individuals, who have given this religious character to the area. The way I see it, the rest of the world will not remember any statements issued here but it will never forget how these men put their shoulders to the wheel and carried out this idea.

    Now frankly, our job, the living individuals’ job here, is to pick up the burden they made these big efforts here for. It is our job to get on with the assignment — and from these deceased fine individuals to take extra inspiration for the same theories for which they made such a big contribution. We have to make up our minds right here and now, as I see it, that they didn’t put out all that blood, perspiration and — well — that they didn’t just make a dry run here, and that all of us here, under God, that is, the God of our choice, shall beef up this idea about freedom and liberty and those kind of arrangements, and that government of all individuals, by all individuals, and for the individuals, shall not pass out of the world picture.”

    From: New Republic, June, 1957

  • Dean from Ohio

    Les Adresse de Gettysburg from ze French:

    There are lots of people heere today to celebrayte a great battl. Naturallee, it falls to me to say that seence no French wehr takeeng part, it was of no great seegneefeecance.

    Now wehr can I obtain a deecent meal out heere in these, as you say, steecks?

  • Well now, I don’t suppose it gets much more fun than that.

    Many thanks to Via Meadia for a rollicking good time and a brilliant sendoff.

  • Speaking of H. L. Mencken, here’s his take on the Gettysburg address:

  • Jim.


    Apologies for my usual long posts. To paraphrase Pascal – I seldom have time to write short ones.

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