Lincoln an apt inspiration for our trying times

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Much has been made of President Obama's admiration of Abraham Lincoln, born 200 years ago today.

Another senator from Illinois, Obama was sworn in with his hand on Lincoln's Bible, and he frequently quotes from the 16th president, such as when he asked his staff to "think anew and act anew" while avoiding "worn-out dogmas" of political ideology.

Obama sees himself as governing a nation divided -- between liberal and conservative, rather than North and South.

Wednesday night, he attended a gala at Ford's Theatre, where Lincoln was assassinated, and today, he was to travel to Springfield, Ill., for the observance of Lincoln's birth.

Like any larger-than-life figure, Abraham Lincoln is best revealed through his own words.

Consider his words at Gettysburg:

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.

"We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground.

"The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."

In our current economic crisis, President Obama is wise to look to Lincoln for inspiration. The rest of us should do the same.

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  • I guess I'd forgotten that there can be no such a thing as a liberal republican, that the ideological orthodoxy is so rigorously enforced in that party that any thinking out of line with that orthodoxy is ruthlessly punished. I'd say that in the context of the times the emancipation proclamation was quite a liberal act. The conservative view would have been to continue the status quo- slavery. I'd need to see proof that as a black Kenyan President Obama's father was either a slave owner or slave trader or related to anyone practicing those trades. It's a nice offhand slander of the sort in which wingnuts are quite proficient.

    -- Posted by davis_x_machina on Fri, Feb 13, 2009, at 11:02 AM
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