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

Friday, January 30, 2009

Take them home



Lincoln was haunted by the Civil War and the death and bloodshed that he couldn't bring to an end. One has only to see how he aged in the five years he served as president to see the enormous burden he carried.

At least he didn't deliberately start the war that broke out shortly after he took office. In Lincoln's first inaugural address, he all but begged the South to reconsider withdrawing from the Union; it was the Confederacy that fired on Fort Sumter, kicking off four years of carnage.

Not so with Bush and the war in Iraq.

I am haunted by the deaths that have occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan: our trusting soldiers who were deployed to Iraq, believing in our government and that the cause was true... and the millions of civilians who have been killed as a consequence of our invasion.

There is also the issue of the Bush Administration's horrific mismanagement of the search for Bin Laden in Afghanistan. Because... the entire reason for going into Afghanistan was supposed to have been to find Osama Bin Laden.

Eight years later -- where is he? We have no idea.

There are still many questions surrounding the death of Pat Tillman. All we know is that he died by friendly fire, and that the Bush Administration covered this up, lying even to his family. I think of Pat every day as the Super Bowl draws near, and his beloved Cardinals prepare to take the grand stage.

Pat should be here.

As with the veterans of Vietnam, Iraq war vets will likely live with the knowledge that the war in which they fought never should have been waged. I have known many Vietnam vets over the course of my lifetime -- it has been a very bitter pill to swallow.

Even more bitter is the pill left for the families of those who never returned. I'm sure a day will not go by that they will not wonder why their son or daughter died... if not because of WMDs and not because of 9/11. Was it truly only for oil?

All of this is on George W. Bush's head, and there it will remain. But the pain will go on, even now that he is out of office.

Would that we all - people and representatives together - had seen through the Bush madness and stopped this war dead in its tracks. All of us who lived through and remember Vietnam should have stopped this from ever happening. Surely if we were able to pull together in a massive electoral uprising to elect Barack Obama, we could have done something...

I guess we woke up from our fitful sleep a little too late.



Starlight, by the Wailin' Jennys

I have come back to you broken
take me home
And my body bears this trouble
take me home
Take me back to my beginning
Before the hell of night set in
And I came to this border
take me home



I have toured the endless starlight
take me home
I have shattered under midnight
take me home
There are no vultures in this clearing
Except the ones who brought me here
And I'll no longer feed them
take me home



Kingdom come, their will was done
And now the earth is far away
from any kind of heaven
Hallowed be these frozen fields
And every single one of us
still left in want of mercy
Take us home



Now the bells stand still and hollow
take me home
And no one has come to mourn me
take me home
Find me where I close my eyes
Beneath this sky of powerlines
And let me see us clearly
take me home



Kingdom come, their will was done
And now the earth is far away
from any kind of heaven
Hallowed be these frozen fields
And every single one of us
Still left in want of mercy
Take us home...

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