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

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Looking back

I remember well the day I posted this initial explanation for my topic, Abraham Lincoln (a life-long hero of mine.) I posted the words below on March 13th, 2007.

I had been blogging since Katrina. It was a way to work out my grief and anger; my moral outrage at the lack of government response, the drowning of New Orleans and everything that followed. I finally decided that 'venting' was getting me nowhere... and really wasn't doing my country any good. What was needed - in my opinion - was an injection of history. I wanted desperately to remind anyone who stumbled across my blog that we must remember who we are, who we were, how we got here... and what we stand for as a nation.

I wondered if we'd ever see a real leader in our lifetime. An Abraham Lincoln to lead us out of the darkness.

Today I had my answer.

Why Lincoln?

I believe that Abraham Lincoln speaks to us today. One has only to read his writings, his speeches, or simply his quotations to see the innate wisdom, thoughtfulness and humility of the man. That, and his dedication to democracy.

Once again, we are engaged in a war. Not a civil war; but once again, war is ripping at the fabric of our country. Hostilities between the 'right' and the 'left' grow more tempestuous every day. The country is once again divided, this time into 'red' and 'blue,' and it seems like only yesterday we were all united with fellow humans all across the planet, dancing and singing in the dawning of a new Millennium. What a happy night that was! How things have changed since that magical day. We have squandered the great hope for a harmonious new century.

We have fallen back into our old habits of greed, hatred, judgment, partisanship - and of course war. I can't help but wonder... where is our Lincoln?

So, what about our generation of Americans? Isn't it about time we had a truly great president? Are we just too confused, too distracted to elect one? Do we lean too heavily on our media, and spend too little time searching out candidates based on issues - rather than rock star aura? Do we now confuse presidential elections with American Idol?

We desperately need a strong, moral leader at this crossroads in our history. We have 'made due' with mediocrity -- or in the case of this damaging administration, barely hung on -- long enough. Where is our Lincoln? Where is our Roosevelt or our Eisenhower? Ike spoke the truth. He even tried to warn us about the rise of the Military Industrial Complex. I can't imagine that sort of blunt, conscientious honesty coming out of the White House today, from either party. Never happen. I also can't imagine that a backwoods, country lawyer like Abraham Lincoln could even raise the money to run a modern day campaign, let alone get any corporate media coverage. In our age, those with the bucks, buy the presidency. Sure, we go out and vote... and apparently, if the 2007 election is any indication, we can still throw a few punches. But notice how - once in office - these 'representatives' quickly forget those who sent them to Washington.

So there we have it. Who will lead us out of this corrupt, corporate morass that is our broken Federal government? How can we win back our reputation as a world leader, redeem our own sense of ethics, and pull out of this national 'fall from grace?'

Lincoln still speaks to us today. He speaks across the centuries, cries out from the pages of countless books, letters and speeches. He speaks of morality, of honor, and of compromise. Lincoln was a wise and reasonable man. I can't help but believe that he is watching us today, egging us forward, begging us to remember that sacrifices were made - that a debt was paid in blood - for our democracy. And after all... who else in our history had such a personal stake in our survival as a nation?

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