Abraham Lincoln Gets a Lincoln in New Navigator Commercial
Imagine it’s the year 1861 and you’re newly elected President of the United States Abraham Lincoln. Several Southern states, fearing that you will put an end to the practice of slavery, have just seceded from the Union and forged the Confederate States of America. Your inaugural address is on the horizon, and you feel that you must take the opportunity to reunite the nation.
Suddenly, as if by magic, a black box wrapped in a red bow appears on your writing desk. Inside, you find a note that reads “Happy Birthday” — you were so busy writing your speech that you’d completely forgotten — and some strange object. A black and silver talisman of some sort emblazoned with an unusual star. Curious, you press the emblem inscribed on its face. From outside your window, you hear a great roar, and you are at once bathed in a great white light. Are you being called to heaven? Have the assassins from the South finally come to claim you?
No. It’s something far stranger. A hulking thing that sits, lit up and shining, just outside your door. You think it may be the product of some great witchcraft or a devilish trick. But you somehow intuit that it is a thing of pleasure.
Roughly, this is the premise of a new TV spot for the Lincoln Navigator, entitled “Namesake,” which debuted during last month’s Grammys.
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Watch: Lincoln Gets a Lincoln in “Namesake”
The commercial seems to posit an alternative history where Abraham Lincoln was visited by a time traveler — probably a rep from the Lincoln Motor Company — who bequeathed upon the president a Navigator Black Label as a sign of gratitude for (unwittingly) lending the luxury brand his name.
There’s a lot of potential in the idea. Perhaps in this unrealized past, Lincoln did not declare to the South in his inaugural address that he had no purpose or inclination to end slavery. Instead, he would have emancipated all slaves on the spot, imploring unity under the better angels of our nature — in this case, the belief that all men and women are equal and deserve to be free.
And so strong would this speech have been that it would have cut to the heart of every man, woman, and child in the Confederacy, leading to the total abolition of slavery and reunification of the United States. Thus, the “Stars and Bars” flag created on that same day would have been removed from over the Confederate capitol only hours after it was first flown. This would set off a chain reaction through the ages, leading us to a 2019 where the Confederate flag is thankfully not a thing.
Well, one can dream, anyway.
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