Lincoln, Obama, and Christie Show Us the Way

The decision to delay the premiere of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln until after November 6 is a facile attempt to disassociate it from the presidential election.  It’s unavoidable and doomed to give us a skewed view not only of our own political climate, but that of the 1860s as well.  Hurricane Sandy may have caused unprecedented destruction in places like New York City and New Jersey, but for a brief moment it paved the way for what appears to be an apolitical embrace between Republican Governor Christie of New Jersey and President Obama.  Whether it is apolitical is not so important as that it is perceived by many on both sides of the aisle as a welcome respite from the usual vitriol for the purposes of aiding those in need.

For those who can’t seem to put aside party politics, Jason Bailey, of the Atlantic, suggests spending some time with Spielberg’s Lincoln.

One of Lincoln’s emotional high points comes when Stevens, a vehement abolitionist who seeks racial equality in all matters, must take to the House floor and deny the full scope of his views. By insisting that he only seeks equality under the law, he can secure moderate votes for the [13th] amendment. But it is a matter of pride for the stubborn and steadfast congressman; his fellow legislators plead with him to keep his passion in check. “I beg you, sir, compromise,” one tells him, “or you risk it all.” Stevens swallows hard, goes to the floor, and soft-pedals his most deeply held beliefs. It is not a proud moment, but it is treated as such by the filmmakers, and when the amendment carries, Stevens says it was “passed by corruption, aided and abetted by the purest man in America.” When Lincoln is pressing his advisers to make the vote happen, his language is p