Lincoln and Ruzicka

Published January 21, 2013 3:21 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As one who taught U.S. history for 20 years, there was so much to love about Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" — the creation of mid-19th-century America, Daniel Day Lewis' portrayal of Abraham Lincoln.

The most fascinating and disturbing thing for me was the debate that raged in the 1865 House of Representatives over whether to abolish slavery with the 13th Amendment. In particular, the visceral hatred of blacks displayed by congressmen opposed to the amendment, and the absolute certainty that God and natural law didn't see slaves as worthy of the same rights as white men.

What would be next? Blacks voting? Women voting? Interracial marriage? Any of this was too abhorrent for the opponents to even think about.

I wonder, 148 years from now, how a future Spielberg will portray Gayle Ruzicka of the Utah Eagle Forum, Sen. Mike Lee and their ilk, when the debate over gay rights and same-sex marriage is put to film?

Somehow, I don't think it will include a free pass to the Celestial Kingdom, as Utah Attorney General John Swallow promised Ruzicka ("Eagle Forum has warnings on debt ceiling, abortion, preschool," Tribune, Jan. 13).

Whether 1865 or 2013, hatred and bigotry don't change.

Chris Long


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