Once Again, I Get All My Wisdom from TV

Plain.jpgI’m enjoying this new show, In Plain Sight. But mostly because of this character, Marshall, played by Frederick Weller. All the pictures have him looking like the tough guy, which he is when he has to be, but the character’s appeal is his humor, and education. Love Marshall.

The last episode had this great bit about forgiveness. I italicized the part that made me tear up. It also sounded so familiar, I thought it might be a quote. I knew I had heard that phrase “our better angels” before. So I looked for it. It’s from Lincoln’s inaugural address.

Here’s the quote from the show:

“People generally think of forgiveness as the flipside of contrition, the obligatory response to an apology. It is not. To forgive is to answer the call of our better angels, and bear our wounds as the cost of doing business. It is that rarest of things, simple and pure. Transcendent, without strings.”

Lincoln’s version (he is addressing the secessionists):

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

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