The trolls assess the Gettysburg Address

     Grave markers line Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pa. A skull, presumably that of a Civil War soldier, had been set for auction. After protests, the remains will be authenticated then buried in the cemetery. (AP file photo/Matt Rourke)

    Grave markers line Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pa. A skull, presumably that of a Civil War soldier, had been set for auction. After protests, the remains will be authenticated then buried in the cemetery. (AP file photo/Matt Rourke)

    Today marks the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which framed our national aspirations in less than 300 words. Garry Wills, the journalist-essayist, has rightfully lauded Lincoln for “appealing to national values, expressing emotional urgency in calm abstractions….No other words could have done it.”

    “The miracle,” Wills wrote, “is that these words did. In his brief time before the crowd at Gettysburg, he wove a spell that has not yet been broken – he called up a new nation out of the blood and trauma.” Indeed, “all modern political prose descends from the Gettysburg Address.”

    That’s the consensus now. But just imagine if there were comment boards back in Abe’s day…

    Horsemanure, 2:45 p.m., Nov. 25, yr of our Lord 1863: What traitorous perfidy, from the Baboon! I have submitted the text to my superior intellectual authority, and hereby discover that he said “we cannot dedicate – we cannot consecrate – we cannot hallow – this ground.” Oh the shame, to hear our worst president dishonor our fallen soldiers in that fashion. They shed their blood, yet he refuses to dedicate, consecrate, or hallow their ground! I shall wonder, henceforth, whether such an Ape as he was even born on these American shores.

    Horsesense, 2:48 p.m. Once again, Horsemanure is suffering from affliction of the brain. Does he not have tasks to occupy himself, beyond this board? The fuller text from Gettysburg actually reads, “But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate – we cannot consecrate – we cannot hallow – this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.” Horsemanure ignores that sentence and thus ignores the president’s intended meaning and for that he warrants a horsewhipping.

    Horsemanure, 2:49 p.m. How dare you, Horsesense! I shall take my whip and smite you, for your temerity in questioning my rightness! Do you not recognize the wisdom of George Templeton Strong, the lawyer and diarist, who writes that Lincoln is “a barbarian, Scythian, yahoo, or gorilla”? Do you not acknowledge the words of Ohio Republican William Dickson, who says that Lincoln “is universally an admitted failure, has no will, no courage, no executive capacity”? Do you deny what the Chicago Times is saying about the Gettysburg speech, that it is filled with “silly, flat and dish-watery utterances”?

    Horsesense, 2:50 p.m. How many years shall you infest us here with your knavish sickenings? You pick and choose the random utterances that comport with your vilest fevers, and ignore all others. It is enough to make a man of good health feel poorly. I can no longer bear that burden, so I shall now leave you until the end of time. Goodbye to this board, and goodbye to you forevermore. Rot in Hades.

    Horsemanure, 2:51 p.m. Oh the joy of victory! I suppose I shall miss the tomfoolery of Horsesense, though without him I am now free without contradiction to expose his hero’s other disgrace in Gettysburg – the passage which states that the fallen soldiers had “died in vain.”

    Horsesense, 2:51:30 p.m. You rumbumptious sow, if I were not so well ensconced in Mother’s cellar I would seek you out for justice at 20 paces!

    Horsemanure, 2:51:45 p.m. You could not hold a Colt if it were lashed to your hand. Do you deny that the gorilla spoke those actual words? Awaken to his spoken slander, and only then will you finally be cured of your impulse to ravish him lustily!

    Horsesense, 2:51:55 p.m. I shall merely point to what the president actually intoned on this sacred day: “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.” He uttered the opposite of what you claim!

    Horsemanure, 2:52:15 p.m. He said “died in vain,” did he not? Even a drunken simpleton as you can grasp that Truth. I am already seeing political missives to that effect, roping him to those words. The usurper shall be driven from the president’s house in 1864, it is one of my absolute certitudes, Huzzah!

    Horsesense, 2:52:30 p.m. I am reading those missives as well, and they are only fit for your foul privy.

    Horsemanure, 2:52:40 p.m. You are not fit to sit in my privy. Occupy your own, and while doing so, I suggest you read the Harrisburg Patriot & Union, from yesterday, the 24th of this month. Did you not see what they said of the Address? “We pass over the silly remarks of the president. For the credit of the nation, we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them, and that they shall be no more repeated or thought of.” If I am wrong that those wise words shall live forever, I shall willingly consign myself to the hellfire of Creation!!

    Horsesense, 2:53:10 p.m. Godspeed. You will not need your frockcoat.

     

    Follow me on Twitter, @dickpolman1

     

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.