Don’t Feed The Animals, A Series of Satirical Musings by Josh Lorenzo
I hope you enjoyed the first two acts of the play, “Our American Cousin,” on April 14th, 1865, because American’s have been living the nightmare of the tragic third act ever since.
All you had to do was stay alive after the Civil War and everything might have been alright. You ended slavery with your amazing Emancipation Proclamation! You won the bloodiest conflict this country has ever seen. Your words were that of a unifier, not a divider. Reintegrating the South back into the Union under your watchful eye quite likely would’ve allowed all men to be regarded as created equal and it might even have stuck. Those were your wishes sir, were they not?
Things were going so well for you – and your country – until you had to treat yourself to a night of comedy at Ford’s Theater. You couldn’t resist an evening of entertainment, and who could blame you, except for thousands of former slaves, your many supporters who risked all, and the rest of us, who have needed you ever since. Didn’t you know there were dissenters out there that saw you as the head of everything they abhorred and would stop at nothing to bring you down?
And what happened on that fateful night, 155 years ago? You were shot and killed by a vitriolic Shakespearean actor who thought he could reignite a disarmed Confederate army, and then Andrew Johnson became our President. We should probably discuss your selection of that guy as Vice President in future correspondence.
While I fully understand the term “Netflix and Chill,” wasn’t known in your era, perhaps lying low for a little while after the war would’ve been a better idea. Letting the smoke clear – in both the literal and metaphorical sense – would’ve been the optimal choice.
If you had to treat yourself to a show, could you not have travelled somewhere a little safer than Washington, D.C., a mere river’s crossing from the recently defeated south, to fulfill your desire for theater. Perhaps you and Mary Todd could’ve taken a nice train ride to New York’s Broadway, or Boston’s theater district. Everyone knew back then how you’d earned a vacation!
You needed to stay alive. Honestly, Abe, that’s all you had to do. Things could’ve ended so much better for you, and for us.
Josh Lorenzo is a part-time humor writer, featured in various places, such as McSweeney’s and the Washington Post. He writes a regular satirical column, Don’t Feed the Animals at Political Animal Magazine. He also has a blog at www.theauthorofsarcasm.com He lives is in suburban Maryland with his wife and two children.
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