October 15th, 2012
06:25 PM GMT
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Iowa (CNN) – The face was oh so familiar. The words, I recognized at once. The way they were delivered amplified their significance. This truly was Abraham Lincoln; or in this case, Lance Mack, a Lincoln impersonator addressing a Civil War re-enactment in Bloomfield, Iowa. How appropriate that Honest Abe, arguably America’s greatest president, should be on hand to offer his 19th century wisdom to a 21st century problem.

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Mack has an uncanny resemblance to his alter ego. It is more than just the beard. His face, long and languid; the mournful eyes; his stature, reaching way over six foot. All together, along with the top hat and long grey coat, and there, right there, was Abraham Lincoln. His audience, a group of school children, was spellbound.

This startling likeness has helped Mack forge something approaching a career. It was his son that first suggested he try it out, and now the two or three events he attends a month may soon earn enough to make it a full time job.

He even plans to have his ashes scattered by Lincoln's Oak Ridge grave: "I told my son, do it on a wet Thursday when there's no one around. They're not going to make you pick me up with tweezers."

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He makes a charismatic commander in chief, but playing the role is about more than simple looks: “This is about reminding Americans living in the 21st Century of the hardships these people faced,” he says, “and the reasons they fought.” Never has that been truer than in 2012, as America readies itself to vote for another president.

Mack is under no illusion that Lincoln is as relevant today as he was after the Civil War, but believes much can be learned from what he said then. As Romney and Obama beat each other up, so Mack can see a parallel need for a healing influence.

Mack is "dismayed" at the "anger expressed on both sides of the aisle." He is also troubled by the voters still sitting on the fence: “The 7% or 8% that both candidates are struggling to reach - I find it difficult to comprehend why people can remain undecided this far into an election campaign that has lasted so many months already.”

In the end, Mack believes Lincoln had exactly the right words to rouse and sooth today’s electorate: “I’d use the second inaugural - delivered March 4th 1865, barely a month before the end of the war. I was looking ahead to an America that needed to be reunited, that had been ripped asunder… and the advice I gave that day is as relevant now.”

The words are perfect: Charity for all; malice towards none; binding up the nation’s wounds; seeking a just and lasting peace. All these are worthy aims. Now America just has to find someone to say them. And mean them.



soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. doabitofhomework

    Obama is as close to an "honest Abe" as we're likely to get in today's world. He really HAS spent all his time doing his best for all of us. His first two years were spent trying to bring unity to both sides of the aisle. He could have pushed health care reform through on his political capital alone in the first few months. But he wanted to shoot for unity and bipartisanship. Back then, he was naive enough to think it possible. And he encountered only a brick wall. He has been more honest with us than any president I can remember, and has come through on his promises, except when the brick wall was needed to get things passed.

    Romney is a habitual liar – clear to see, repeatedly debunked, so nobody can pretend they don't see it. He's as much an analog of "honest Abe" as Big Bird is an analog of Jabba the Hut. Who can possibly WANT a liar in the White House?

    I think even Abe himself would be scratching his head in dismay over that.

    October 15, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
  2. JESSEDHEPLER

    I LIKE DEMS MORE THAN REPS BUT HOW CAN THAT BE?

    October 16, 2012 at 4:44 am |
  3. Scott Edwards

    The reason people can remain undecided so long is that both candidates are reasonable intelligent men with reasonable plans. Romney to reduce debt by cutting spending, which will definitely work but some will suffer. Obama to borrow more and invest heavily to grow revenue, but will it really work, or do we just end up with more debt? Even Nobel Prize winning economist can't agree which is better.

    October 16, 2012 at 11:46 am |
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    Scott: The history of GOP administrations "cutting spending" is faulty history. The last GOP POTUS without deficit spending in every year of his term was DDE. The two largest debt increases over a "term" since WWII were Reagan (160%) & Bush 42 (72%). All #GOP candidates talked of budget cutting – but it was always talk – soon forgotten after taking office.

    October 17, 2012 at 12:51 am |
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    since we all sikh,s like and adore mr. obama,i m sure he,s gona make it 2nd.tenure.god bless!

    October 17, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
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  8. Debbie Tamuno

    Obama is a man of his words- reasonably an intelligent man. Even Abraham Lincoln one of America's finest and arguably best president will agree that Obama has his kind of wisdom. Obama' s health care reform was awesome if not for some distractions. He will have successfully pushed through, but for the brick wall... brick wall is a challenge of ability
    All Obama needs now, is a second tenure to amend few mistakes.

    October 26, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
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    I LIKE A GIRL FROM NEW JERSEY AND HOPE SHE DON'T CARE

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    Doabitofhomework you are crazy! Obama is not even on the same playing field as Abe. Mitt Romney is no more of a liar then Obama is. We need to change presidents every 4 years regardless of the party. "Change the band-aid till the wound heals"

    February 21, 2014 at 3:32 am |

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