“Happy birthday, Abie baby,
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday, Abie baby,
Happy birthday to you
Bang? Ha ha. Shit, I’m not dying for no white man.
(Tell it like it is, baby.)”
(Lyrics from Broadway musical, Hair)
Happy Birthday, Abe Lincoln, the first Republican president!
Abie Baby defined deception. Like George Bush and other contemporary Republicans, Abe Lincoln used a human rights issue (albeit in a positive mode when compared to George Bush – the negative one with a Masters of Beer & Ale or MBA) as a wedge issue. The true intent of Lincoln was to create a strong Federal government in the USA. The Republican Party was formed as a human rights party. It was New York City businessmen and Abie Baby who dissected it into the party of “Fat Cats” and humanists. The party of George Washington, the “Whigs,” and the Federalists were all dying and needed to rise again. So out of the ashes came the Republican Party as its abolitionists sold their souls to the greedy devils of the land and attached to the old conglomerate of Federalists. People like Ezra Cornell, founder of Cornell University and an avid abolitionist, stood together with greedy businessmen in an alliance made for Satan. It was great for each side to rub each other’s backs.
The “Happy Birthday, Abie Baby” lyrics from the musical, Hair, imply a sarcastic attitude about Abraham Lincoln which I believe is rooted in what I describe above. Sung by African-American girls (to be politically correct, I shall not say, “Black girls,” despite the fact that was how they were described in the 1960s when Hair was first produced), the song implies a certain disrespect for the man who was the “Great EE-mancipator!” – also lyrics used in Hair. Abie Baby was no different than the “Great Commmm-unicator,” sleazy Ronald Reagan.
When I was a kid, I read the words of conservative William F. Buckley, Jr., and liberal Gore Vidal. I got a picture from both sides, but was happy to see our government really did not divide so pervasively into these two factions during the 1960s. We were divided by a war and civil rights. Ideological divisiveness, in my opinion, is based on nothing and accomplishes nothing except extensive bickering in order to see who can yell the loudest and which group has more control freaks. In this volatile environment, solutions are out of the question.
It seems my greatest nightmares about this situation have come to pass! Both Buckley, Jr., and Vidal are now dead. And what we have is a nation as divided as it was during our past history, but based on unreasonable demands of each stubborn side of the ideological fence. Unlike our earlier periods, this period is dangerous because this divisiveness bears more similarities to 1917 Russia and Hitler’s rise to power in the 1930s.
Back in the 1960s, I recall reading an essay by Gore Vidal which shocked me. The Hair lyrics about Abie Baby validate what Vidal said. Mr. Vidal suggested that Abie Baby should have just left South Carolina alone when it decided to secede from the USA. For if Abie Baby was truly in favor of ending slavery… if slavery was Abie Baby’s first priority… then he would have stood a better chance of ending slavery with less bloodshed had he just left the Confederate States of America go off and face the world on its own. For in 1807, Britain had outlawed slavery. Had Abie Baby left things alone, the Dixie justices in the Supreme Court could have been replaced with those favorable to abolition and overturned the Dred Scott Decision, thus allowing African slaves in the South a shorter route to freedom. Perhaps the CSA would have constructed a big fence – sort of like the one described by a nitwit contemporary Republican Congessman… sort of like the Iron Curtain the communists built. Eventually, what happens to such walls?
This may be a “what if…” scenario. Perhaps the results would have been far different. No one can say for certain.
I believe, however, that we, as a society learn more about our path to the future if we consider such scenarios and openly discuss them, rather than embrace the Dick (Armey) heads and reject solutions based solely on ideology. I never fully accepted or embraced what either Buckley or Vidal had to say. But I considered the value of their words for human knowledge and understanding.
Abie Baby was a man who compromised the original goals of the Republican Party – abolition of slavery – in order to invoke the powers of a centralized government and this, and the race relations have been a huge unsolved problem ever since. Just prior to the American Civil War, a Mississippi writer stated his distaste for the “despotism” of the North. Perhaps this writer was correct. But taking an objective look at this, I have to ask: what about the despotism of the South in the form of the Dred Scott Decision? This was an example of one faction of this nation imposing its will upon another faction – through the court system. Faction A (the South) forced Faction B (slaves and abolitionists) to live in misery when Faction A was not forced to live in misery. Faction A had its extreme wealth. In Faction B, there were those who had nothing (slaves) or were those in the North able to carve out a decent living without the extremes of feudal land ownership and sacrificed their time to civil liberty issues that should have been a natural part of our society in the first place. At the most, Faction A would have had to accept a little bit less for the sake of overall HUMANITY.
HUMANITY, not an ANIMAL KINGDOM. Animals cannot create democracies, but humans are able to do so as long as barbaric animal-like control-freak obstructionists, with plenty of greed and selfishness, are not allowed to impose animalistic characteristics upon society. I prefer humanity.
So, once again, Happy Birthday, Abie Baby! Each year, we honor what you did for (to?) this nation with President’s Day sales in the retail outlets. Our societal lust for shopping has obscured the real date of your birth. Most Americans probably do not remember you were born on Feb. 12. The American society which has developed in the intervening years appreciates the racial divide and states’ rights issues which still exist today. After all, we can simply ignore all those issues and march off to the mall.
Thanks, Abie Baby! You did a wonderful job!