Today is the 150th anniversary of the death of President Abraham Lincoln. He held this country together when fools and traitors would have torn it to pieces just to preserve so-called states’ “rights” and the vile practice of slavery. And yes, all those secessionists in the south were essentially traitors. They practiced treason and sedition. Anyone who wants to fly the Confederate flag should remember that they are flying the flag of a self-declared foreign country that attacked and made war on the United States of America. Anyone who thinks they’re some kind of patriot for flying the stars and bars should maybe think a little goddamn deeper.
Interestingly enough, today is also Jackie Robinson day in the MLB. Every single player on every single team wears the number 42 in honor of the first black man to officially play for a Major League team. (Confused nerds who don’t know this might wonder why all the players are honoring The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but they can be forgiven for that.) Jackie Robinson helped make this country a little more equal by braving the insults and threats he received just for playing the game he loved at the highest level he was capable of. It’s this kind of thing that the Civil War was fought for, the right for all men and women to determine their own lives, no matter what the color of their skin. Millions of people fought and died so that everyone got the same rights.
Sadly, we’re still fighting that war. And the battle extends to so many different groups, more than Lincoln ever could’ve imagined. Even though the founding fathers were really only thinking of men like themselves when they wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the rest of us took that whole created equal and pursuit of happiness think seriously. So take a moment today to remember Lincoln and the Civil War. Take a moment to remember that the fight that ended 150 years ago is still being fought in ever more subtle and insidious ways. Toss a baseball with your kid, or watch a game. Thank that fast food worker who is making a minimum wage that falls well below a living wage. Think about all the people who were just running a marathon when the world literally exploded around them. Remember that April 15th isn’t just the day you have to run out to the post office at 11:15 pm to mail that check to the IRS. There’s a little more to it than that.