Letters to the Editor: ‘Cancel culture’ goes too far targeting Abraham Lincoln

A statue of Abraham Lincoln in front of San Francisco City Hall was vandalized.
(Christopher J. Beale)

To the editor: I cringe a bit whenever I read articles like “Cancel Abraham Lincoln? San Francisco grapples with the president’s legacy.”

People live in their own time and place, not in some unknown future. There are no “reset” or “delete” buttons. Neither the participants nor the events for which they’re known can be erased. They are part of history. They are part of our collective conscience.

Reevaluating motivations is part of our growth process as human beings. However, understanding newly discovered facts does not make us superior beings capable of casting permanent judgment on all that came before us. Toppling statues and renaming institutions are merely the first steps in denying that these people and events ever happened.


Those who came before us were not flawless, and neither are we. Remembering the past and learning from it should remain a part of the legacy that we leave for future generations.

Betty Rome, Culver City


To the editor: So San Francisco is looking into removing the name of our 16th president from its public schools.

We now know (although we always did) that “Honest Abe” was not an absolutely perfect human being. Despite all of his laudable accomplishments, Lincoln had faults and made mistakes just like every human being ever born in this world.

Apparently, it is now pointless to try to name any school after any actual human being. San Francisco should follow the time-honored tradition (at least in New York) of naming its elementary, middle and high schools with numbers.

I cannot wait to root for Public School 31 to beat Public School 48 in the football playoffs.


Leonard Venger, Tarzana


To the editor: While a committee of the good citizens of San Francisco is considering social justice for Lincoln, it might review an issue far more close to home.

The early Spaniards who visited what is now California enslaved local natives and forced Christianity upon them. The church in whose name such actions were taken enshrines Francis of Assisi as one of its most holy figures.

Why glorify his name when it represents such oppression?

Louis H. Nevell, Los Angeles