I’m currently reading for review Old Abe: A Novel by John Cribb, due for publication in September. The book is a fictionalized version of Abraham Lincoln’s final years, told in considerable detail.
Reading the book at this time in history—with the pandemic, the national outcry over George Floyd’s death, and the movement for removal of Confederacy statues—throws the story into bold relief. And Lincoln’s courage and determination offer a striking contrast to the presidency of Trump.
Equally conspicuous is the performance of the Republican party in Lincoln’s day compared with its behavior today. Lincoln’s party pushed for the end of slavery and the recognition equal rights for all. Today’s Republicans are complicit with Trump’s corruption of the presidency. Where Lincoln and his party worked for equality and freedom, Trump and the Republicans of 2020 seek to reward those who support the president’s malfeasance and punish those who decry his wrongdoing.
Old Abe, in short, shows me how far we have come as a country in 160 years and how far backwards we have gone in the last three.