Above, the painting Abraham Lincoln Writing the Emancipation Proclamation by Jes W. Schlaikjer, 1957. The painting shows Lincoln in his bedroom, wearing his nightshirt. He holds a piece of paper in his left hand and writes on a sheet of paper on his bed with his right hand. A small lamp shines on the corner, and the clock on the nightstand behind him suggests it is nearly 2:30 in the morning.
I recently enjoyed the privilege of speaking to guests at the Lincoln Cottage as part of a panel on hate in the US. The Cottage, on the property of the “Old Soldiers Home” (one of two federal Armed Forces retirement communities), was where Lincoln and his family spent their summers and where he drafted the Emancipation Proclamation. The Cottage is a National Parks site that honors this legacy by serving as a museum of “Big Ideas.” This spring, the rise of hate in the US–and how we can combat it–was one of those ideas.
“Hate of the Nation” was moderated by Dr. Laura Schiavo of Georgetown University. It began with Civil Rights hero Dorie Ladner recalling her work in the 1960s. Seth Levi from the Southern Poverty Law Center spoke about the rise of the alt-right from older white supremacist movements. Alex Nowrasteh from the Cato Institute spoke about how we can have better conversations about immigration. I ended the panel with a consideration of how hateful acts can be motivated by our love of that which we often celebrate (family, faith, nation), using Westboro Baptist Church members’ devotion to their faith as an example.
If you view the session (available here) and have follow up questions or comments, please feel free to share them.