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Role model

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Flush with all the Koch brothers' money they got during their election campaigns, Republican legislators could surely scrape up enough to rent a theater and watch the new "Lincoln" movie as a group. It would be money well spent. Inviting their lobbyist friends wouldn't hurt.

Republicans will have a majority in the new legislature; appeals to their better instincts have never been more needed. It's true that such appeals have been largely unsuccessful in the past, but the Lincoln film provides a unique opportunity. Republican presidents are a generally a sorry lot, Bushes and Hoovers and such; nothing inspirational there. But Lincoln was the greatest Republican of all, the greatest president of all, freer of slaves, savior of the Union. Even such as Denny Altes of Fort Smith might be inspired to do great and noble deeds after watching a movie about Lincoln. Anything's possible.

Would Lincoln devote his energies to depriving women of control of their own bodies? Certainly not. He opposed slavery. Would he prevent sick poor people from receiving medical care, as today's Republicans threaten to do? Hardly. His was a generous heart. Would he try block minorities, the elderly and the underprivileged from exercising their constitutional right to vote? Nothing could be more foreign to him. He trusted the people.

Lincoln would have renounced the whole legislative program of these modern-day Republicans. After watching a movie about him, they might be moved to do the same. We have a dream of the Lincoln-hating Rep. Loy Mauch of Bismarck, standing in the aisle at the end of the movie, tears streaming down his face, admitting "Lincoln's the man!" And an equally repentant Rep. John Hubbard of Jonesboro, crying "I was blind but now I see! Slavery was a bum deal!"

It's a big dream, admitted.

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