Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Character and the hero's journey

Barack Obama left Hawaii after saying goodbye to his grandmother. She may well be dying, and may not even live to see the results of this election. My heart goes out to him today.

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved. - Helen Keller

I guess over time, I've come to appreciate that everything happens for a reason. Barack Obama wouldn't be who he is today without having suffered and struggled. The reason that he connects with his fellow Americans - that he cares so deeply - is because he has suffered with us, experienced disappointment, loss, and pain.

Lincoln's loss of his mother at an early age, and his subsequent battles with depression forged a depth of character that made him our greatest president and leader. FDR's battles with polio (and also depression) were undoubtedly the source of his great compassion for everyone in the nation that suffered through the Great Depression

Barack is often compared with Bobby Kennedy - but RFK was forever changed by the assassination of his brother. He came out the other side a fiery and compassionate leader of the people. He connected with the pain all around him. It was personal.

Al Gore never looked half as presidential in 2000 as he did when speaking at the 2008 Democratic Convention. Gore went through his hero's journey after the election, and emerged an inspirational world educator and leader in the fight against climate change. He also won a Nobel prize.

The qualifications of a truly great president include more than political savvy. It is not enough to be intelligent, well organized and ambitious if you lack personal character and compassion. If Mr. Obama is elected president in 10 days, he will need every bit of strength, character and determination to turn this country around... and we will need every bit of his compassion.

We ourselves have experienced several very painful losses this summer. I hope we can make a small difference in this world. Obama has the opportunity to change history.

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