"Whatever you are, be a good one."
This has got to be one of the stupidest things I've seen recently. Of course, I'll admit I'm biased because of my great love of American history. Northeastern Illinois University dedicated the new Jacob Curruthers Center for Inner City Studies with a beautiful bronze plaque on the outside of the building proudly proclaiming "Abraham Lincoln--Democrat." I mean seriously, even Wikipedia, who is hardly known for its factual accuracy, got it right that Lincoln wasn't a Democrat--he was a Republican! I mean, it's pretty common knowledge... I thought.
I bet the University is aware of that oversight now.
I understand mistakes, but this is an institution of higher learning, dedicating a building for the express purpose of study and learning . . . and not one person during the planning, the ordering, the installation, or the dedication of that building noticed the plaque was wrong? Now I ask this question: Is that because nobody noticed it was wrong, or nobody at the institution of higher learning knew it was wrong. Either possibility is disturbing on many levels.
It's just another example of how machines continue to get smarter, as mankind seems to get dumber and dumber. And it's frightening, especially when it comes to our ignorance of history. We're just not teaching it like we used to--and like we should.
As it has so often been said, in so many ways--when we forget our history, we destine ourselves to repeat it.
UPDATE 11/5/13: I've gotten a ton of emails already today on this subject, and one was interesting. It suggested that the plaque may be using the term "democrat" with a small d rather than a large d. That's an interesting point. Most people probably don't know there is another definition of the word besides describing a political party. Why would you use the word "democrat" meaning "one who practices social equality"to describe such a well known Republican? It makes me wonder if there isn't a political motive here to mislead people. Most people are going to look at that plaque, as I did, and think solely in terms of political party affiliation--right? I'm not the only one that saw it that way. Not one of the news stories about this has even brought this up as a possible explanation. Seriously, would you ever use the term "republican" to describe Barrack Obama? I hardly think so, but like with democrat, there is another definition of that word as well, and even though Barrack Obama isn't a Republican (big R), he can most certainly be classified as a republican (little r). He is the member of a Republic. I doubt anyone would ever consider describing President Obama as a republican, because a.) that word isn't used that way anymore, and b.) it would be intentionally misleading.
Todd E. Creason is an author and novelist whose work includes the award-winning non-fiction historical series Famous American Freemasons and the novels One Last Shot (2011) and A Shot After Midnight (2012). He's currently working on the third novel Shot to Hell which will be released in Spring 2014.