- Why Lincoln? Why is Lincoln posed in such situations? What does “Posse” mean? He is seen practically every day by people when they have a five dollar bill or a penny in their hand. Who is this person with which we have such regular relationship? With the Lincoln Memorial and other architecture the aesthetic, most of the imagery is generally taken from the Republican Roman era.
The artist is taking this Roman association a little further and putting Mr. Lincoln in a very similar role to Julius Caesar* would have had during the arc of his own political career (which was effectively since he was a teenager). That position is as Pontifex Maximus, or essentially the head priest of the religion of Rome.
Lincoln is pictured here as though a kind of spiritual and political saint, found in the classical symbolic context. Below is a one of the works illustrating His authority to the kids on Main Street. He is indicating that he is indeed Representing, and in this case he is Representing Jupiter, lord of the Skies. That is what these “UR Moms Have Posse” works refer to.
Today kids on Main Street USA are increasingly drawn to the “thug”, “gangsta” aesthetic with all of its baggy clothes. One explanation is that this culture of “Gangsta” indicates a sense of authority and order, in that these people do it “for life” and “Keep it Real”.
Mr. Lincoln is cast in a dual way here. One, as spiritual authority as though on the shoulders of Julius Caesar, and then the second role is in actually demonstrating that dress and affect of authority to a people who are sincere in “keeping it real” , or a longing for truth.
The image above of UR MOMS HAVE POSSE is delivered In the “street” parlance, laden with sarcasm. The kids describe it where one person is “all in the grill” of the other person, letting one know authoritatively.
Regarding “POSSE” a little knowledge of Latin is helpful here. “Posse” is a verb describing “being able, to be able”. In the days of the American “Wild West”, a Posse was a group of able-bodied men who where on hand to get any tasks done. When rap exploded in the USA, the same term “Posse” was used here and there, and with the same meaning as in the “Wild West”. A Posse is your “crew”. They “got your back”. Taking a look at Main Street USA, one notices that many kids are emulating what they see in the “street”, as well as media.
Real authority, real order seems to be found for much of American youth, in the street.
A translation for “UR Moms Have Posse”: no matter who you are, regardless of any influence you may have, including the ability to call dependable people to come and help, when the time comes and the skylord says so, there is no discussion, one’s time is done. “UR Moms Have Posse”. Lincoln, as His representative, is here to inform.
*Julius Caesar is a figure from history who has been well written about. I will state briefly here that Julius Caesar was living within his own set of symbolic associations, in the same way that today Lincoln found himself within the Roman one.
The Roman of those days lived in a symbolic world which was directly related to a lost kingdom on the shores of present day Turkey, an area called many names including Pergamum and Troy. So Caesar lived in a world that was symbolically oriented to a cast and situations which are very little known or spoken of today.
It was the Trojan war which was fought over Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world. The abduction of Helen was actually sanctioned by one of the gods, in this case it was Venus. Its a sort of long story, read about the Judgement of Paris. There were many princes from Pergamum and one of them was named Aeneas, and according to the story, his mother was Venus.
It was Aeneas whom the Romans, via broad persuasion, were encouraged to look upon as founder. According to Virgil, Aeneas only fled the city when it was clear that it was doomed. Fire and wreckage everywhere. He had to flee for his life. He carried his aged father (and his aged father carried the household gods) and ran with his wife and child behind him. The story goes on from there. Where the Greeks had Odysseys, the Roman had Aeneas. It happens that the Aeneid, written by Virgil, was published during the lifetime of the first Emperor of Rome.The Emperor was named many things, including Augustus. It is easy to be “snarky” about things and say what gullible hicks, but these were a complex people who lived very devout religious lives. Augustus was a religious as well as military and political title and it meant “anointed”.
But previously, for a couple or few generations, there probably was a Republic of a variety of enlightened state, what ever that is. The brahmanic hindu born man living and dying a world away in the vastness of India would have lived in a very similar kind of community, in terms of the massive symbolic vocabularies and rich cultural practices used to worship all manner of gods. For the student of esoteric philosophy, the Republican Roman, at least for a couple of generations, may have been very much like an enlightened Sadhu or Vaishnavite or other Hindu devotional figure.
The Roman from the Republican era went out of his way to participate in the mysteries of the gods. They took religious observances very seriously as to them it was direct connection to the gods but perhaps more important is that it maintained them in relationship with all of their ancestors as well, similar to how it is still practiced in China today. This was the world of the Roman Republic at least for a little while. Then the Republic dissolved and the Empire took its place.
Symbolically, the entire city and later the empire of Rome was understood to be a sacred precinct, perhaps analogous with the Temple of Solomon. Rome in its entirety (as a city state and as Empire) was effectively a Temple, or that was how they appear to have thought about it in those days.