Thursday, February 12, 2009

Abe & Charlie

So it's quite the date on the calendar - celebrating the birth of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin.

Old Abe would be 200 years old today, if it wasn't for that assassination thing. Oh, and that natural inability for humans to live that long too.

I recently got to see the Lincoln Memorial in person for the first time. It was an amazing sight to see. But if you've ever been there you'll notice it's not like in the movies when a contemplative moment can be spent gazing into the alabaster face of Mr. Lincoln, solemnly reading his words, considering the historic ramifications of his life. No, it is a mob scene with a gazillion school kids on their annual trip, screaming babies, and generations of Americans in bad tourist outfits trying to hit 22 sites in an hour.

Still...if you can shut all that out and just consider the vision he must have had and the strength, and the fortitude, and the brilliance, to do what he did...say what he did...and plant the seeds that he did...its so humbling. It really makes you wonder how history chooses to find the souls who can leave their mark in such meaningful ways. And do these remarkable individuals know what impact they will have 200 years later?

Those seeds Lincoln planted have grown slowly and unsteadily, but they are gradually bearing fruit. And while we still have a long way to go, we can proudly declare we've come far...all following in the footsteps of this great man.


And then there's Charlie - known to some of you as Charles Darwin - a man who still causes angst and strife among the hords of faithful and blind who cannot conceive of an alternative meaning to 'God created the world in 7 days'.

If Darwin had done nothing else but piss off the religious fanatics of the world, I would worship HIM as if a god. But in reality his brilliance did not stop there, but in laying the groundwork for understanding of who and what we are, how we have survived thus far, and the very essence of us - in the discovery of genes. While Darwin probably had no concept that genes would someday be discovered and hold the truth and key to our ultimate survival, he certainly understood that the characteristics that genes play a role in developing created our ability to be "fit" enough for the world.

It makes so much sense that I cannot believe that anyone disputes it.


If I weren't so afraid of losing my job and not finding one again before I starved and had to move me, my hubby, and my two kitties to a nice little Whirlpool box in the alley, I'd quit my job tomorrow. What would I do? I would do nothing but read books about Abe Lincoln and locate fossils to mail to school board members who want to subvert children's education by eliminating evolution in science classes and teaching creationism.
Really, these people need a bonk on the head.
Instead I'll have to settle for marking the date on my calendar and thanking Abe for starting us down the path to a better world (if only he had tackled gay rights too)...and thanking Charlie for upending the ridiculous and showing us light and reason. Oh, and creating the premise for Survivor.


so NOT cool said...

Well said!! (I always have that Darwin fish on whatever car I own.)

A's Mom said...

Totally agree about bonking people's heads! I'll help too!

Kate Hanley said...

I just came back from Washington, DC where I dutifully took my children to see Abe (my son loves the presidents). If you can get a quiet moment to read the speeches on the wall (or part of them), it really is quite powerful as is the view from the memorial down the mall to the WW2 memorial, the Washington memorial all the way to the capitol.