Those are the words of that great American historian…umm…I mean news anchor, Brian Williams, on Abraham Lincoln. Who the hell knows what he is talking about. I caught a few snippets of History’s recent series, “America: The Story of Us” and was disappointed on every level. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting much, maybe something with a little more history content than Ice Road Drivers Truckers and Pawn Stars. This little video on Lincoln sums up the fundamental flaws of this series.
First, who cares what Brian Williams, Soledad O’Brien, Michael Strahan, and Michael Douglas think about Abraham Lincoln and, for that matter, how exactly are they qualified to speak about anything having to do with American history? According to O’Brien, Lincoln had a couple of conversations with Frederick Douglass before deciding to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. From Strahan we learn that Lincoln stuck to his beliefs when they weren’t popular. O.K….I get it. Even the historian, H.W. Brands, sounds like a complete fool and I’ve enjoyed his books in the past. According to Brands, there was nothing in Lincoln’s early life that would have pointed to the presidency, as if this were the case with any of our presidents. Talk about narrative gone bad. What I find truly hilarious is that the most coherent and historically based commentary in this short segment comes from none other than Rev. Al Sharpton. If Sharpton had qualified his point regarding Lincoln’s position on black suffrage to a select and educated few he would have nailed it.