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Pat McMahon

‘Lincoln’ reminds us that cameras don’t make a president

“Our network projections are in much earlier than expected and, in an overwhelming landslide victory, the dynamic Democratic candidate Stephen A. Douglas has carried both the popular and electoral votes in every state to defeat the ungainly and unattractive Republican, Abraham Lincoln.”

That’s not the way you remember the story from your earliest U.S. history books? You’re right, but that’s the way it easily might have happened if television had been around to cover that campaign and those debates.

When you see the new Spielberg movie, you will leave the theater understanding why so many historians consider Lincoln the greatest president we’ve ever had.

But there was no television in the mid 1800s.

Lincoln’s voice was not that of a soothing nor commanding orator. To some, it was described as irritating. His posture wasn’t that of a proud statesman. And my God! Is that a mole? Quick! Get the Photoshop people.

We wouldn’t even recognize him as a Republican, but when you see the movie, you’ll see the president we have all been looking for: courageous, ethical, a gifted leader.

How can we find the next Lincoln unless we turn off the cameras?

I’m Pat McMahon.


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