Trump says he can be more presidential than all but Abraham Lincoln
I've worked in Washington, DC and live across the Potomac River near Alexandria, Virginia. Both Washington and Alexandria have played prominent roles in our nation's history, and sometimes I need to pinch myself to really believe that I'm not living in a dream, a dream where a son of a steel worker could have the opportunity to work as a staff economist at the U.S. Department of Labor with an office literally blocks away from the U.S. Capitol building. But I'm in Philadelphia as I write this, and like Washington DC and Virginia, Philadelphia reeks with American history and If you want to renew your reverence for our democracy and you are concerned for our country in the time of Trump, please visit this city and Independence Park if you haven't already done so. It is one of our nation's national parks; and if you have already visited it, it may be time for a return visit in this time of near constitutional crisis.
Independence Park is the site of numerous historic sites, the crown jewel being Independence Hall. The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were both debated and signed in this building.
Construction on the building started in 1732. It was the site of the three branches of Pennsylvania's colonial government. The Pennsylvania legislature loaned the Assembly Room out for the meetings of the Second Continental Congress and later, the Constitutional Convention. In 1775, in this red brick building, George Washington was appointed Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, in 1781 the Articles of Confederation were adopted, and Benjamin Franklin, the esteemed sage of Philadelphia, was in the thick of the debates. Inside the building where the meetings took place one could almost feel the presence of men like George Washington, John Adams, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton.
Now from all accounts, none of these men, were perfect. All were products of their times. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison all were slave owners, though Franklin's was only a personal servant, but a slave nonetheless. Franklin and Hamilton eventually became supportive of the abolitionist movement.
It is on the shoulders of these men that American democracy, it's system of checks and balances, it's government of laws and not of cult of personality, and the provision of regular peaceful transitions of power were built.
There have been times in our history when our democratic foundation was shaken, not the least of those times was the civil war. The American experiment survived that one, largely because we Americans were lucky enough to have Abraham Lincoln lead us..
Which brings to mind something that our current President Donald Trump said the other day. He said he could be more presidential than anyone except Abraham Lincoln. And I say to Trump, I've read all about Abraham Lincoln, and Donald your name shouldn't be spoken in the same breadth as that of Abraham Lincoln. Nor of Washington, Adams, Jefferson or Madison. Not even in the same breadth as the Roosevelts, Truman, Eisenhower or Ronald Reagan..