Oh, good lord. Just when you think the legislature can't get any more ridiculous, they do it again. Today's nonsense comes to us from Strawberry Plains' own Sen. Frank Niceley, who, once again, is opposing a ban on cockfighting. Why would a farmer support such cruel behavior to poultry, you might ask? Well, according to the Nashville Scene, it's all Lincoln's fault. Yes, THAT Lincoln.
The Scene reports that Niceley stated his opposition thusly:
While we're all in support of the legislature finding themselves inspired by Lincoln more often -- Sen. Mae Beavers, especially, could stand to read some history lessons -- we found ourselves wondering if Niceley could possibly be right. Was one of our most prestigious presidents of all time actually a fan of cockfighting?I'm going to vote against this bill and I'm gonna tell you why. I'm going to vote against this bill out of respect for Abraham Lincoln, the founder of the Republican Party. He was fighting cocks on the White House lawn when he was accosted by an irate woman. He said, 'Ma'am as long as the good Lord allows civilized men created in his own image to fight wars and kill each other while the civilized world stands by and watches, it's not my place to deny the lowly chicken the same opportunity.'
The answer, it turns out, is no, not really. If you're going to write about Lincoln, it's best to look to the experts, and who could possibly be more expert than the Abraham Lincoln Association itself? The ALA actually examined the cockfighting issue in its newsletter a decade ago -- you can find the entire piece here -- but the gist of the matter is this: A biography of Lincoln written not too long after his death claims that Lincoln did once judge a cockfight. We should note here that the cockfight was in New Salem, Ill., nowhere near the White House, and that again, Lincoln was supposedly the judge, not one of the men fighting a rooster. However, the historian writing the essay finds a contemporaneous letter describing the event that states that Lincoln heard a story about this particular cockfight in New Salem and compared a general to the losing rooster as a joke. And it is from this comparison that now, all these years later, cockfighting advocates claim Lincoln for their own.
So we're sorry, Sen. Niceley. Good try, but your history is just plain wrong. Defend cockfighting all you want, but leave Lincoln out of it next time.