So when I got a sponsored advertisement in my Facebook news feed that said there was a publicly funded mural with the face of Abraham Lincoln about to be installed on the wall of the Peoria County Courthouse I had to speak my mind. Hell no I thought, it not only looks ugly and Orwellian but Lincoln also has some ugly quotes that contradict the meme he has become.
A meme, as per Terence McKenna, is the smallest unit of meaning and this is what Lincoln has been reduced to – just a symbol to represent anti-slavery which is obviously a very good thing but it assumes Lincoln was also an anti-racist and unfortunately he wasn’t that at all. It’s not fair to all the citizens who were not given equal protection under the law to be swept under the rug by this tacit endorsement of Lincoln by our elected officials. Native Americans were not treated as fairly as whites in Lincoln’s time and while emancipated, African Americans were not treated equally – and let’s not forget women from that time either. Lincoln is just not the symbol to put on the wall of the Peoria County Courthouse in this modern world.
Apparently the person who wrote the advertisement for the Abraham Blue mural (he’s blue as that represents his battle with depression is the artist’s explanation) doesn’t know the difference between publicly funded and privately funded as they said it was publicly funded (which suggests tax payer money was used) but it is actually privately funded.
I hope the private funders are also going to pay for the lights that will ensure everyone is forced to see this eyesore 24/7 for the next two years.
I suggest we have public art that celebrates life and love – leave Abraham Lincoln in the history books along with the other people who made racist comments!