…the dynamic Douglas had a gift for making the inaccurate claims seem authoritatively factual and a genius for energizing the already persuaded. – Fred Kaplan, Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer
Fred Kaplan’s Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer, which provided yesterday’s Thought, is a marvelous book that added (we counted) 35 quotes to the old Quotebook, a figure generally reserved for much longer works.
The Douglas referred to is Stephen Douglas, an Illinois politician who had briefly courted Mary Todd, who would later marry Abraham Lincoln.
In 1860 Douglas was the Democratic nominee for president losing, of course, to Abraham Lincoln. Before that he had served his country honorably as a member of the United States Congress in both the House and Senate. He also served his home state of Illinois in its legislature, as secretary of state and as an associate justice of its supreme court.
After losing the presidency to Lincoln and realizing what he always wanted in this life would not be there for him, he decided it was time to call it day, contracted typhoid fever, and died in 1861 at the young – even for then – age of 48.
Today’s Thought shows well the old adage that the more things change the more they stay the same. By all accounts, Douglas was a consummate public speaker, able to bring a crowd to a frenzy like few others of his day.
making the inaccurate claims seem authoritatively factual and a genius for energizing the already persuaded.
Boy, this describes both major party political candidate to a T. We are being lied to and fed inaccurate claims and we are buying it.
This really isn’t a problem, though. It has been going on, everywhere, since people have been running for office. It’s the way the world is built.
No, the problem is we are putting up with this and we can’t be the only ones wondering:
This is the best we could do? This is the very best our two major parties could muster up for president?
Yes, it is. We nominated them, Trump and Clinton being the detritus coughed up by a nation so polarized its citizens simply cannot wait embrace what it wants to hear, regardless of whether nor not its accurate or any good for our country.
This was the best we could do. Our major parties failed us, but only because we let it happen. It’s all our fault.