Friday, September 5, 2008
The Party of Lincoln?
I try to avoid being political on this blog, because I want to show people Washington as more than just the partisan, political city it is reported and perceived as in the media. True, our nation's government resides here and history happens in this place on an hourly basis, but Washington, D.C. is more than the President, the Congress, and the Supreme Court. It is also a place where people live and work and a city where people from all over the country and the world come to be inspired.
Part of Washington's inspiration is the legacy of one of America's greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln. There are several monuments and memorials to Lincoln. Some of them are better known and recognized. Others are off the beaten path and little seen, except by those who live or work in their vicinity. One of these memorials is east of the capitol in a little urban oasis aptly named Lincoln Park. This statue of Lincoln depicts him as the author of the Emancipation Proclamation--an epic, pivotal document which ended slavery in the United States in 1863--and includes a slave being freed from his shackles.
In yesterday's Washington Post, an article on the recently adjourned Republican National Convention reported that the Republican Party--the party of Lincoln--has failed to diversify and remains a party of mostly white, upper and upper-middle class Americans. Out of nearly 2,400 delegates at the RNC, only 36 were black. That's less than 2% of all delegates. By contrast, 24% of the delegates at the DNC convention were black. Now granted, I know that number is up probably because the DNC's candidate is black, but that doesn't take away from the appallingly low numbers in the RNC (and, even without that as a factor, DNC representation by blacks still remains around 20%.) I don't think it's much of a stretch to say, if Lincoln was alive today and participating in the party he represented nearly 150 years ago as a candidate for president, he'd be appalled, too!
Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 09/08