Mae, you’ve gotten so… Abstract?

Tom Kuntz of the NYT starts off his Sept 5th article by saying, “If the presidential election were Mae West,” but I wouldn’t hold that against him. Actually, it’s an interesting article, despite the fact that it’s not really an article.

What it is is a sampling of comments ranging from 1864 to the present day, all of them declaring the election of that time to be the most important, ever.

E.g., you have Gen. James H. Lane writing in a NYT editorial in 1864:

“We have had many important elections, but never one so important as that now approaching.”

…or Joseph Levenson in 1924:

“I look upon the coming election as the most important in the history of this country since the Civil War.”

…and so on, and so forth. It’s a great exercise in perspective, though the flip-side should be noted, too: that all elections are the most important at that time, since we don’t live in the past or future but the present. Some may be more or less important given their historical context, but that’s history, and if we were able to live according to historical context, there would probably be far fewer problems in the world today.

(NYT: “The Most Important Article in Our History,” by Tom Kuntz [September 5, 2004])