Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
In 1838, a twenty eight year old member of the Illinois House of Representatives named Abraham Lincoln observed the frightening and dangerous proliferation of mob justice sweeping across the nation. In Vicksburg a mob had recently taken it upon themselves to hang gamblers. In St. Louis, a murderer named McIntosh, was “seized in the street, dragged to the suburbs of the city, chained to a tree, and actually burned to death.”
In his speech addressed to the Young Men’s Lyceum in Springfield, Illinois, Lincoln condemned the outbreak of mob justice and warned that mobocratic rule would cause our “temple of liberty” to fall. Today Americans would be wise to revisit Lincoln’s passionate appeals to condemn the mob in his time, lest we wish to witness the crumbling of our nation in our time.
183 years later a new proliferation of mob justice is sweeping across America. Cancel culture has merely replaced the noose and arguably our mob today is more frightening than the mob of yesterday. Had the mob not murdered gamblers and murderers like McIntosh in Lincoln’s time, they would have died by the sentence of the law a short time later. But our new mob metaphorically hangs and burns not those who have committed crimes in the eyes of the law, but those who have committed no crimes at all.
Just this month country star Morgan Wallen was dropped by his agent and suspended by his record label for using a derogatory slur outside his own home in a Nashville suburb. His words were offensive but not criminal.
A week later and 2,000 miles away in Los Angeles, actress and Mandalorian star Gina Carano was dropped by her agent and barred from future employment in Hollywood for making an historical comparison of our own dangerous political climate to that of Nazi Germany — hardly a criminal offense and her cancellation only proved her observation fact.
It would be easy to dismiss the cancellation of Wallen and Carano in 2021 as merely two small acts of evil, just as the the mob murders in 1838 were, abstractly considered, of little consequence. The problem, as pointed out by Lincoln, is that “such are the effects of mob law, and such the scenes, becoming more and more frequent in this land so lately famed for love of law and order; and the stories of which, have even now grown too familiar, to attract anything more, than an idle remark.”
While Wallen and Carano represent two of the most recent and recognizable victims of the mob, how many victims are still nameless and unaccounted for? Over the past year this same vicious portion of our population pillaged and burned stores across this nation, savagely beat American citizens in our streets, and took over entire blocks of our most populous cities like invading barbarian hordes. Mobs harassed innocent Americans as they dined in restaurants and threatened others, who committed the new crime of walking from the White House lawn to their hotels. These savage and lawless Americans were not met with swift condemnation by Democrat politicians, but rather with encouragement and defended — probably because they were Democrat voters.
Perhaps it is unsurprising that such lawlessness is met with little or no criticism or condemnation by the the Democrat Party. After all, as mobocratic rule grows, so too does their insistence that we erase men like Abraham Lincoln from our history — tearing down his statues and erasing his name from our schools. But while the Democrat Party labors to make Abraham Lincoln irrelevant, his words become more relevant.
These accosted, abused, and cancelled Americans — the victims of the mob —are statistical casualties in a war against America herself. Each time the mob attacks and their lawless acts go unpunished, our Constitution is attacked. When a store is burned to the ground, a page of our Constitution is burned on the ground. When Gina Carano was cancelled, her unalienable Right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness was cancelled.
In 1838 Lincoln reminded Americans that “we find ourselves under the government of a system of political institutions, conducing more essentially to the ends of civil and religious liberty, than any of which the history of former times tells us.” But he also acknowledged “that temple must fall, unless we, their descendants, supply their places with other pillars, hewn from the solid quarry of sober reason.”
How do we fortify our pillars against the ever present danger of decay and collapse? Lincoln offered some straight forward advice. “The answer is simple,” he said. “Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.”
But even in his own time, Lincoln’s wisdom fell on deaf ears. 23 years later 600,000 Americans painted this fertile land red with their blood in a Civil War to prevent our temple from collapsing. The problem then is our problem now — an increasing disregard for the rule of law and our Constitution. The cancel culture mob spits on the graves of those brave men and women who gave their lives to transmit to us this “goodly land,” our inheritance.
Today the pillars are crumbling once again because while times have changed the mob remains the same. Moreover, the Democrat Party remains the same. The same lawless spirit displayed by the mob and the Democrat Party then, is on display by the mob and the Democrat Party today. While the Democrat Party seeks to erase our history, they also seem determined to repeat it.
“If destruction be our lot,” Lincoln said, “we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.” Which will it be?