“The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public.” – George Jessel

We were watching the Spielberg movie about Lincoln. At the beginning someone with a dramatic voice recites the Gettysburg Address, and we’re pretty sure we fell asleep right after that. Maybe it was the 4 alarm wings, and maybe it was the beverage we used to wash them down, but we were immediately plunged into this weird dream in which the three current presidential candidates each deliver their own Gettysburg address. It was one of those really vivid ones that sort of haunt you. We remember parts of their speeches pretty well, but we also remembered the optics. Trump in a periwig and Sanders in a stovepipe hat aren’t easy to forget. Even transported 150 years into the past, they still sounded an awful lot like they do today. A hush falls over the crowd as a speaker rises.

LINCOLN

First to the lectern is businessman Donald Trump:

“It was about 87 years ago, folks, more or less, I mean, what am I, a historian? So anyway our forefathers, some of whom were low energy, like this Jefferson fellow. I mean how much effort does it take to declare independence? C’mon, I could pull that off in 10 minutes, right? All he had to do was tell this King George, ‘No more redcoats, Georgie-boy, and no more kings. You’re fired! Not only that but we’re building a wall, and guess what, your majesty, you’re paying for it!’ By the way, try the Beef Wellington at my Trump Hostelry and Stagecoach Station. It’s fantastic! I love the Limeys! Okay, where was I? Oh yeah, then there’s little Jimmy Madison, you know, and his Constitution. They talk about my hands, it’s no wonder Dolly was hitting the ice cream, I think you know what I’m sayin’. And this Madison Square Garden, what is that, a shack? I say we tear that down and build Trump Square Garden. It’ll be huge. It’ll be the most tremendous, fantastic garden you ever saw. And how about lyin’ Abe over here . . .  Here’s a mental picture for you: Mary Todd – Melania. Right? Mary Todd – Melania. That’s all I’m going to say. I don’t want to get in trouble.”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will now address the assembled multitude:

“But I think it’s time we gave some credit to our foremothers because if there was any ‘bringing forth’ upon this continent, believe me, it couldn’t have been done without strong women, probably earning only 67 cents on the dollar, even though dollars hadn’t been invented yet. But when they were, it was probably by underpaid women and minorities. I dream of the day when a woman will hold the highest office in the land, although maybe we should work on getting the vote first. Also, would everybody faint if I wore a pair of trousers? You would? Now, like certain other candidates I could name, I have written my speech down on the back of an envelope, but I can assure you that, even though I received this envelope on my private pony express service, there was never any classified material on it, and no chance whatsoever that it could get into the hands of the Confederacy, even though some nut from Tuscaloosa claims to have hacked into my private mailbox. With a hatchet. Also, my primary opponent is against common sense restrictions on assault muskets. I’d like to go on, but this bustle is killing me.”

And finally, Senator Bernie Sanders:

“Now we are engaged in a great Civil War, one which my opponent voted for but I hasten to remind you, I voted against. As representatives of the Confederate Lives Matter movement recently, and rather forcefully, explained to me, it’s only the top one percent, the hundredaires and thousandaires, who will benefit from this war. I’m talking about the fatcats in the whaling industry and the moguls who manufacture spats and corset stays. I have long been in favor of raising the minimum wage to 15 cents per hour, and of guaranteeing any young person free tuition as an apprentice blacksmith or scullery maid. So I say, end the war. I mean, have you been to the South? It’s not exactly ‘Nosh-ville’ down there, if you get my drift. You couldn’t find a decent Reuben in the whole place if you marched from Atlanta to the sea. Believe me, in six months they’ll come crawling back, begging for a slice of challah or a nice brisket.”

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