The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion If Trump had given Lincoln some advice before the Gettysburg Address

“They always said nobody got treated worse than Lincoln. I believe I am treated worse.” (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post, Library of Congress)
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We have met the moment, and we have prevailed.
— Donald Trump, praising his administration’s response as the coronavirus death toll passes 81,500

[Lincoln steps onto the field at Gettysburg and produces a speech.]

Four score and seven years ago,

[A cannonball whooshes overhead.]

our forefathers brought forth on this continent

[Several cavalrymen go galloping past, scattering pages of the speech.]

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a new nation, conceived in liberty

[A Minié ball whistles narrowly by, knocking off the speaker’s hat.]

and dedicated to the proposition

[A loose artillery horse rushes over in a state of confusion, gets its legs tangled and knocks over the podium.]

that all men are created equal.

[The remainder of the speech flutters uselessly to the ground.]

We have won the victory.

[The noise of many tramping feet draws closer.]

And now we are here to dedicate a portion of this field

[“Steady, men!” cries a voice of command.]

in memory of what a good job we have done

[“Hold your cannon fire!” another voice yells. “Wait for their approach!”]

in this battle that is clearly past.

[Bugles blow and drums rattle.]

We have met the moment,

[Serried ranks of men begin to make their way across the open field, banners waving in the afternoon air.]

and we have prevailed.

[From behind the fence, the rifles open fire.]

There is nothing more to do here.

[Shells and cannonballs begin to rain down overhead, devastating the ranks.]

The victory is won.

[The carnage is unthinkable.]

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