Imperfect Could Spell I’m Perfect [PHIL-OSOPHY]
We learn from heroes that inspire us, but lately, some of them have been under attack.
History is like a mosaic. It's complex and nuanced, and a lot of the champions we revere were not perfect in their decisions. Take Lincoln, for instance, who is one of my favorites. I believe he was one of our greatest presidents, having issued the Emancipation Proclamation, persuading Congress to adopt the 13th Amendment ending slavery and losing his life for this cause.
Despite this, some students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison want Lincoln's statue removed and replaced with someone who stands for the justice of all people.
Their reasoning is Lincoln ordered the largest mass execution in U.S. history, condemning 38 Dakota Sioux fighters to their death after a violent Native American uprising in 1862 where he signed off on their execution, but also prevented the deaths of 264 other Dakota combatants.
Yes, he did. Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, which provided settlers with land taken from Native Americans who were pushed onto reservations. That's true, also. During a debate, he argued that there is a physical difference between the Black and White races and that he favored the superior position assigned to the White race.
There isn't a righteous person on earth who continually does good and never misjudges. No, Lincoln wasn't perfect, but neither was Moses (a murderer), Peter (willing to deny Jesus to save his own skin), and other exemplars like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Dr. Martin Luther King and JFK. All of them great guiding lights, and all of them flawed.
And yet, in spite of their humanity and imperfections, just look at the timeless and unfaltering purposes they gave the world, for the better.
Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.