It was no small irony when the malcontents of Black Lives Matter and their guilt-afflicted fellow travelers saw President Abraham Lincoln as “problematic” as the Confederate generals he waged war against in order to free the slaves and preserve the union.
But now, some of the caretakers of his legacy are asking BLM-adjacent questions about Lincoln.
On Saturday, the Twitter account @FordsTheatreNPS, the official account of the Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site, which is part of the National Park Service, tweeted, “Do you ever feel we, as a nation, put Abraham Lincoln ‘on a pedestal’? What do you think might be a more useful, more complex, or more realistic way to think about or memorialize the 16th president?”
Most of us likely learned, before American history went woke, that Ford’s Theatre was where Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth, an actor, fatally shot Lincoln on the night of April 14, 1865, just five days after the South surrendered and ended the bloodiest war in U.S. history.
Lincoln did not die immediately. He was carried to the Petersen House across the street, and succumbed to his wound the following morning.
Oddly, considering its question, the Ford’s Theatre logo on its website features an image of Lincoln.
And while it wonders what might be a “more useful” way to consider Lincoln in the 21st century, the theater also advertises a fundraising pitch to patrons that seek help to “Protect Our History.” “Give to Ford’s Theatre and help us share the stories that shaped a nation,” the website says.
That request seems weirdly contrary to the movement its questions about Lincoln arise from, which spent weeks assaulting, vandalizing, and tearing down statues, monuments, and memorials of admittedly imperfect American heroes who failed to hold contemporary views on race relations when they lived decades, and perhaps centuries, ago.
While some liberals on social media applauded the theater for posing its questions, conservatives offered some rhetorical eye-rolling.
“Did John Wilkes Booth tweet this?” tweeted Guy Benson, a Fox News contributor.
A Twitter user with the account Aragorn Aragon added, “Ford’s Theater: Where Killing Lincoln Once Just Wasn’t Enough.”
Nate Madden, communications director for U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, a Texas Republican, responded, “Yeah we do. Because he got to the pedestal himself by saving the union, for one. His assassination the only reason you’re a national park in the first place. Sit down.”
Another user who goes by Cranky “Sophisticated, Vaccinated” Gordon, answered, “I mean, you’re 100% right. There’s no hook to gender expression or LatinX issues. This gotta come down.”
Dan Gainor, vice president of the conservative Media Research Center, noted, “Your social media idiot should be fired.”
Twitter user Common Sense 1776 added, “I am flabbergasted that the NPS tweeted this. Are you actually considering removing statues and pedestals in favor of something more woke? More nuanced? We celebrate great individuals, even flawed ones, because everyone is human. I would think the NPS would understand that.”
So would many of the rest of us. But perhaps not.
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