Last weekend, I was at the Sangamon County courthouse in Springfield, Illinois. I was originally directed to the sixth floor, and when I got off the elevator I was greeted by a large bust of Abraham Lincoln, who never practiced in that courthouse, but who was a pretty successful Springfield lawyer.
I posed for a picture next to the Lincoln bust, and leaving aside the cartoonish look on my face, what strikes me is the way that I seem to tower over Lincoln. When Lincoln walked the earth, he towered over practically everyone, being that he was six feet, four inches tall. He would have towered over me, too, or at least had a couple of inches on me.
But whenever we see Lincoln statues today, or the Lincoln monument in DC of the face on Mount Rushmore, we aren’t able to tower over Lincoln. He towers over us, in both a physical and a metaphorical sense. And that’s as it should be, really.
So when I sidled up to the Lincoln bust in the courthouse the other day, I had a chance to tower over Lincoln instead. I wish I looked a little bit more dignified, and less like I was on the happy pills, but that’s how it is. I still like the picture, because it reminds me of how prevalent Lincoln is in our society. I can’t imagine that any other president merits a bust in a courthouse, anywhere.
As a society, we revere Lincoln, and deservedly so. He ended our greatest national wrong, and by remembering him as we do we perpetually honor his act, and commemorate the price that he paid for doing so. You can’t tell from this picture, but I’m proud to associate myself with Lincoln, in any way, shape, or form that I can.