A Little Less Opinion, A Lot More Fact

Yesterday, a glossy, bronze statue was unveiled in Bechtel Park, Davenport, Iowa. According to the Quad City Times, it is called “Lincoln with Boy on Bridge.” The event commemorated was Abraham Lincoln’s participation in a law suit in 1853. The future President represented the Rock Island Railroad in a suit filed by a Captain John Hurd who owned a steamboat that collided with the railroad that same year. Some say this was Lincoln’s most significant case on his way to the White House.

While he was working on the lawsuit, Lincoln apparently walked onto what is now known as Government Bridge to get a first-hand look and encountered a young boy, who was the son of the bridge’s lead engineer. Satisfied with his surveillance and conversation, Lincoln is reported to have told the boy that he was glad to hear “a little less opinion and a lot more fact.” Davenport’s major Frank Klipsch observed, “This statue is all about kids and about the future, and I think that’s extremely important for this city.”

Extremely important for this city and the nation these days, I would add. For if today’s politicians do not find ways to hear and take seriously the voices and aspirations of our young people, if political campaigns to not begin to focus on “a little less opinion and a lot more fact,” we may fail in our search for new national leaders with the wisdom and wit, the genius for compromise linked to firm commitment to principles which marked out 16th President and his “team of rivals” who led this country through crises that make today’s pale by comparison.


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