[Warning: This is satire. If you do not like satire, loathe laughing, and only want me to write serious analytical articles on the Middle East, please do not read this article.]
The audience murmurs as the curtain rises and a tall handsome man strides center-stage and speaks:
“Wouldn’t you like to meet the president, rub elbows with celebrities, and hang out with the elite? Well, now here’s your chance! I’m Edwin Booth, star of stage. You’ve seen me in “Julius Caesar,” “Hamlet,” “Othello,” and other hits. I personally saved the life of the president’s son.* I’ve toured the world and performed before crowned heads. Now, I’ll be performing before you!
“All you have to do is go down to the nearest Wells Fargo office and make a 25 cent donation to President Lincoln’s reelection and you will be eligible for the “Meet the President and Dine with the Stars” sweepstakes. If you win, then you and a chosen campanion can come to my luxurious mansion in New York City for an intimate reception and dinner.
“Yes, President Lincoln might be homely and not particularly glamorous, much less “cool”. He just writes all his own speeches and delivers them without needing a man to stand before him with the words written on big cards. He courageously freed the slaves and is winning the Civil War. He never complains that he inherited this mess from his predecessors, nor does he whine about such “headwinds” as First Bull Run, Second Bull Run, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. He just buckles down, gets to work, and is saving the Union.
“So Abe doesn’t need the glitter of entertainers. Nor has he spent all of his time doing fundraisers. In fact, golf hasn’t really been invented yet. Still, every penny counts and we hope you’ll help.
“Jenny Lind, the `Swedish Nightengale,’ will be there. Stephen Foster might drop by and sing some of his greatest hits.
“So even if you don’t care about freedom and the preservation of the world’s greatest democracy and most wonderful country, you can brag to your friends about hanging out with famous actors and actresses.
“I’m Edwin Booth and I hope you join us.”
(Voice over): “And I’m Abraham Lincoln and I approve this message.”
Robert Lincoln wrote in 1909 about an experience he had during the latter days of the Civil War:
“A group of passengers were late at night purchasing their sleeping car places from the conductor who stood on the station platform at the entrance of the [railroad passenger] car….The train began to move, and…I was twisted off my feet, had dropped…into the open space, and was personally helpless, when my coat collar was vigorously seized and I was quickly pulled up and out to a secure footing on the platform. Upon turning to thank my rescuer I saw it was Edwin Booth, whose face was of course well known to me, and I expressed my gratitude to him….”
Imagine the twist of fate that made Edwin Booth, a strong supporter of Lincoln as well as the leading actor of the day, happen to be in the exact spot to save Abraham Lincoln’s son a few short months before his own brother, John Wilkes Booth, whose pro-Confederate politics Edwin strongly rejected, assassinated the president!