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Abe Lincoln, Bob Dylan and John Bolton

Additional Reading

Connecting Abe Lincoln and John Bolton Thru Bob Dylan

He gives power to the faint and strengthens the powerless. Isaiah 40:29

Abraham Lincoln had a sinus headache.

September in Washington DC. The day brought news of the battle at Manassas and it looked like there was no stopping Lee. Lincoln's head was throbbing. Maybe writing out his thoughts would help. Dipping quill into ink and unrolling a piece of parchment to write, he stretched out is long legs and fluttered his arms in small circles to begin--looking like some tall, gawky Art Carney procrastinating in a way sure to make Jackie Gleason start hollering.

But he couldn’t write. His head just hurt too much.

So he went to put on a record album. (This was before CD’s were invented.) Maybe that would help him relax. Ease the throbbing pain.

Thumbing through the albums filed in a wooden crate—made from rails he had split himself—he slipped out an early Bob Dylan. “With God on Our Side.” Plunking it on to the White House turn table, he moved the arm on to the vinyl, the needle in the groove and then gave that bad boy a spin. Leaning back with his eyes closed behind the big White House desk that would someday be used by Warren Harding, Chester Arthur and George W Bush, Abraham Lincoln shut his eyes and soaked in the Dylan lyric:

Oh my name it is nothin'
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
It’s taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And that land that I live in
Has God on its side.

Lincoln smiled, his eyes still closed, as Dylan went on:

Oh the history books tell it
They tell it so well
The cavalries charged
The Indians fell
The cavalries charged
The Indians died
Oh the country was young
With God on its side.

And as the Dylan permeated into every pore of that craggy, rugged frontier face, his big sad eyes opened, he picked up the pen and he began to write, trying to figure out what to do next. Lincoln wrote:

“The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be . . . and one must be wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God’s purpose is something different than the purpose of either party.. . .

The contest. {Lincoln wrote} proceeds.”

Lincoln stares out the window on to the rainy September White House lawn. The Dylan record ends, and Lincoln, a weariness now taking over his whole 6’5 frame, forgets to lift the needle off the vinyl; the only sound a scratching of the finished disc endlessly turning.

And to the sound of that finished Dylan record scratching, Lincoln thinks to himself: What if God is not on our side?

While Lincoln sits alone, feeling faint and powerless: on a different plane of time, a bitter cold Manhattan wind hits John Bolton like a body blow as he waits for the parking valet to bring his car. He’s late. He’s got things to do. The liberal press had put the spin on his quote: “If the UN building lost 10 stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.” Of course they had taken it out of context. Trumped up the volume. But Bolton was feeling good. Feeling strong. Just this morning, downing his Power shake, his personal trainer Amber Lynn had told him that he had the body of a man ˝ his age. And as for Amber Lynn’s tan and golden body---well, he knew there would be time for that. There would be time for everything John Bolton wanted time for. Everything. I am John Bolton he thought.

A man who can control time itself

Except for that damn car parking jockey. Where was he dammit? Where was his car? Where was his Beamer??? Oh there would be hell to pay for this. He was sure of it!

About the Author

Roger Wright can be found on the Blog Church Food Chicago. He connects things in strange ways.


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