Lincoln is back (Spielberg's Lincoln opens in November), and with him urgent questions: Are we locked in a new form of Civil War in our time? If so, why and what is it about? And where is our own Father Abraham? President Obama, an Illinoisan and Lincoln devotee who launched his own candidacy at the Old State House in Springfield, invoked his hero at the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, saying that he, like Lincoln, had learned from his own failings. Of course we are not in a fratricidal war, but much of our politics is eerily reminiscent of Lincoln's time, when the country split in two. Now, as then, the party system is broken and achingly in need of upheaval. As the Civil War approached, the two parties of the era were powerless to resolve the fundamental issue of slavery. Only the rise of a new Republican Party broke the gridlock. We may be reaching a similar point again.