The promise of America

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address superbly retains its relevance

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It is regarded as one of this country’s finest speeches ever. The speaker self-deprecatingly predicted the world would “little note, nor long remember what we say here.” He was quite wrong.

And, today’s politicians should note, the remarks lasted all of two minutes.

One of the most moving, quoted, catch-phrase-laden oratories in American history, Abraham Lincoln’s legendary Gettysburg Address, delivered 150 years ago Tuesday, is as relevant today as it was then, for its expansive view of the American experiment. And of its precariousness.

Lincoln brilliantly seized the magnitude of the moment: Nothing less than history’s greatest undertaking in self-rule was at stake. He knew a fractured United States would likely mean a crumbling republic. He knew his stewardship was to make sure that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

His profound summary of America’s founding – that the framers “brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” – used to be the stuff of elementary school memorization. And for good reason: Conceived in liberty? Dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal? This is the very essence of America, in just a few phrases.

Today, our obligation is no lighter “that these dead shall not have died in vain.”

The American fabric has not been this frayed since Lincoln’s day. The nation is sharply divided because we the people no longer agree on the very basics of what we believe. On what has made America exceptional, and what we must do to keep it that way.

John F. Kennedy, another president who was assassinated – 50 years ago Friday – hinted at that when he implored us to “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

It’s not enough to be “conceived in liberty.” That birthright must be nourished, safeguarded and periodically renewed with sacrifice and selflessness and prudence and vision. At the absolute least, that birthright must be understood and appreciated. As Lincoln suggested, freedom is supremely fragile; its lifespan is a function of the character of those who live under it.

And in a republic, so, too, is the elected representatives’ character a result of that of the electors.

Maybe we need a bumper sticker that reads, “How is my electing?”

With favorability and credibility ratings of our current leaders at historic lows, it’s clear the nation has a serious character problem. Through our own self-indulgence and shortsightedness, we have, since at least Kennedy’s day, exalted and idolized leaders whose vision, far from Lincoln’s, extends no further than the next election.

The result is a nation whose leaders have us not only at each other’s throats, but on the cliff of financial collapse.

Yet, they keep offering us more and more – more benefits, more comforts – with no discernible way of delivering on those promises, except by robbing future generations. And we keep on buying those beautiful lies – again, with our children’s money.

If we buy anyone’s promise, it ought to be Lincoln’s. It is, simply, the promise of America.

Not of comfort or security or goodies bought by someone else yet unborn, but simply of freedom and opportunity.

May we take note of that promise today, and long remember it.

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ymnbde
10752
Points
ymnbde 11/20/13 - 07:03 am
6
2
of, by, and for

some of the simplest words, made powerful by Lincoln
prepositions to the proposition that all men are created equal
now comes O, and suddenly, in spite of knowledge of Stalin and Mao and Hitler
government is attempting to make all humans equal, again
or, in an intermediary step, to
remake humans in the form of
bronze, silver, gold, and platinum
and from their abilities, platinum shall be taxed
according to the needs of bronze
but let us forget the words of Lincoln's great battlefield
for liberals know better, and have hallowed the 1960's
when the irrational exuberance of adolescence
turned into the audacity of the ignorant
Lincoln, the greatest
O, the worst
.*
his ideas should perish from the earth

Riverman1
94248
Points
Riverman1 11/20/13 - 08:20 am
6
5
Next Gettysburg

I wonder if great oratory will come from our next Gettysburg that's surely coming?

GACopprhed
2136
Points
GACopprhed 11/20/13 - 08:21 am
4
11
So worried about keeping your
Unpublished

So worried about keeping your own, when so many gave up EVERYTHING they had, to let those who wish exercise greed, avarice and to worship the god of ME ME ME!!!

GACopprhed
2136
Points
GACopprhed 11/20/13 - 08:22 am
3
14
I'll be there on the other
Unpublished

I'll be there on the other side, Riverman, we won once, we'll win again......

seenitB4
98595
Points
seenitB4 11/20/13 - 08:41 am
11
3
What will you win copperhead?

A country laden in taxes...a country that can't sustain itself...a country of takers & whiners...what a waste of human flesh.....what you end up with won't be pretty....

deestafford
32201
Points
deestafford 11/20/13 - 08:43 am
6
3
I am not a fan of Lincoln; however, this speech and the words

are really a treasure. It's too bad some phrases have been misconstrued by so many of today's politicians.

In New York harbor stands a lady with a torch proclaiming she is holding the light of liberty achieved by America and that the countries of Europe could have the same by following its example. Obama is pushing not liberty but the brand of equality that was the foundation of the French Revolution and if had his way he would change the name from The Statue of Liberty to The Stature of Equality.

Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.

Bizkit
35756
Points
Bizkit 11/20/13 - 08:55 am
8
3
I thought progressives would

I thought progressives would hate this speech-because all men "are created"-which infers created by God. That may be true, but biologically we are all human but not equal. I would think christians would be offended because the Bible clearly states people aren't equal-and God's gifts nor spiritual gifts aren't equally portioned. The fact that all aren't equal is the basis of evolution too. If there were no treatment for AIDS those few-like identified in Africa, who are resistant will likely not perish and their offspring inherit the earth as others who aren't pass away in generations. Herbicide resistance in weeds is evolution too because all weeds aren't equal either and those who survive the herbicide pass on their survival trait. You can't make it equal either-as this notion of social justice. It's un-biological, un-biblical, and just plain illogical.

deestafford
32201
Points
deestafford 11/20/13 - 09:11 am
6
4
The left does not understand economics. They think any

self-interest and desire to make a profit is greed personified. A person's responsibility is to first look out for one's self and their family. Apparently, this is an alien concept to the statists.

Perhaps they would benefit from Adam Smith's wisdom when he penned:

"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard for their own self-interest."

A person becomes successful and wealthy by fulfilling the needs of consumers...be it a product or a service. If he fails to fill that need he doesn't succeed. America used to be the number one place for a person to become wealthy. Sadly, it's now about number 12 because of what our politicians have done to us.

Of course economic failures as government leaders are not new. d' Tocqueville had an interesting observation about Washington, DC: "In America there are so many ways of making money that a man does not usually enter politics until he has failed at everything else."

Bizkit
35756
Points
Bizkit 11/20/13 - 09:34 am
3
2
True Dee, even "altruism" and

True Dee, even "altruism" and "cooperation" in humans is rooted in "selfish" interest. Humans are selfish, intuitive as much as intelligent, and violent animals-seems secular humanist would appreciate that biological fact. We are more like violent social chimps and violent social wolves than non-aggressive bonobos or genetically determined prosocial insects. Wolves hunt in a pack because their self-interest to eat has greater odds of success if they join forces with numbers to take a larger prey. The violence is even expressed in their hierarchy within the pack-see the same in chimps. Even have "wars".

Riverman1
94248
Points
Riverman1 11/20/13 - 10:03 am
10
3
The God of Me

GACopperHead said, "...to worship the god of ME ME ME!!!"

It appears liberals are the ones who found that religion. Take from those who have and give it to me, me, me. I'd rather let you keep what you have and I'll keep what I have.

teaparty
11313
Points
teaparty 11/20/13 - 10:06 am
3
4
Riverman 1said, 'I'll keep
Unpublished

Riverman 1said, 'I'll keep what I have.'
That sounds pretty greedy.

Bizkit
35756
Points
Bizkit 11/20/13 - 10:14 am
5
2
I love giving-the joy of

I love giving-the joy of giving. The govt would take that joy away from me= to give with a cheerful heart. The govt rationalizes how it can take-usually by fallacious demonization, but it is still "stealing". If I don't give it then it is take from me.

deestafford
32201
Points
deestafford 11/20/13 - 10:45 am
5
3
Wasn't it the brilliant Dr Walter E. Williams who said,

"Social justice is I keep what I make and you keep what you make."?

I guess the liberals believe, " I'll keep what I make and I'll take a part of what you make."

dichotomy
37620
Points
dichotomy 11/20/13 - 10:58 am
7
2
" conceived in liberty, and

" conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal"

Well, we've lost most of our liberty and the welfare rolls prove that all men are not created equal in the eyes of the government. We finally got the equal rights stuff fixed, and that is where we should have stopped, but instead we provided a lifetime excuse for true equality to never be reality. Lincoln's speech was basically written for ANOTHER country....not the country we have today. If everyone was created equal, and the government truly promoted equality, I would not be paying for anyone's welfare, food, housing, or Obamaphones. Those folks may have equal rights but they are certainly not equal. Equality and Liberty...you can forget that crap.....we have lost both as a result of government policy.

prov227
3468
Points
prov227 11/20/13 - 11:36 am
4
1
And we are rapidly losing ...

individual sovereignty, as little as is left.

Darby
29483
Points
Darby 11/20/13 - 12:04 pm
4
1
The last word I'd use to describe the nation

the founders gave us would be "precariousness".

Is it capable of being destroyed from within? Of course! But if it were that unstable, we would have lost our freedom years ago.

As Edmund Burke made clear so long ago, when good people do nothing, evil can triumph.

That day is drawing closer and closer...

Michael Ryan
812
Points
Michael Ryan 11/20/13 - 12:11 pm
4
2
Our founders warned us how

Our founders warned us how precarious liberty is when they said such things as "a republic, if you can keep it."
Yeah, I'll stick with precarious.

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 11/20/13 - 12:14 pm
3
10
editorial

"Today, our obligation is no lighter “that these dead shall not have died in vain.”"

Lincoln was talking about the dead that resulted from The Civil War. These dead troops were fighting for a cause which they believed in. It was very unfortunate that The South was fighting for ALL of the wrong reasons! The North was fighting to keep the country as a whole nation AND fighting to rid this country of slavery. Perhaps these reasons were justified, BUT the troops that have died, and have been perminintly disabled, in Korea, Veitnam, Iraq, And Afghanistan, in my opinion, died for ALL of the wrong reasons also. It should have not been The US's fight to keep communisum out of Korea and Veitnam. As good as the secret forces are in the military, the was no reason to send tens of thousands of troops into harm's way in Iraq and Afghanistan.

myfather15
57307
Points
myfather15 11/20/13 - 01:06 pm
5
4
Precarious? Absolutely!!

Christ is Freedom's Savior!! But if it weren't for Him, we certainly would have to fight for it again, on this very land!!

I also would be one of the first to sign up!!

GACopprhed; you might want to do a little more history research!! Republicans actually won that war!! The only difference now is that republicans have moved to the South, when at that time it was completely opposite!! During those days, democrats dominated the South!!

I honestly don't believe the left has EVER won a war!! That's why they are the anti-war crowd!! It's not because they are peace lovers, it's because they can't win in war!! That's why Kruchev said "We will destroy America from within, we will defeat them without firing a shot." The left's war is a psychological war!! They certainly do NOT want to engage in actual warfare!!

They have gotten this Country addicted to MATERIAL SUBSTANCE!! There is no honor and integrity left within the Country!! They've destroyed it with confusion!! Psychological Warfare!!

Actually, when I think about it, I believe the left did win Vietnam!! But that also was won with psychological warfare!! They attacked people's will power to win, here at home and over there; with all their peace demonstrations and protests!! Their PC over powered them!! We certainly would NEVER have been defeated by the NVA or Vietcong!! They could NEVER have matched our military strength!! So they attacked what they COULD defeat, people's will power!!

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 11/20/13 - 01:18 pm
3
6
editorial

"The American fabric has not been this frayed since Lincoln’s day"

It has been said that America lost its inocence with the death of President Kennedy. The editorial states the above sentence about "the fabric of America has not been so frayed since Lincoln". I say with the death of President Kennedy AND the Vietnam War, the fabric of this country was worse than it is now due to the fact that there is no longer the amount of inocent troops being killed for no good reason!!

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 11/20/13 - 01:32 pm
3
5
editorial

"The nation is sharply divided because we the people no longer agree on the very basics of what we believe."

In my opinion, the nation is sharply divided because half of the nation's people don't trust the Republicans to do the right thing and like-wise about the Democrats. Just because it seems, even to me, President Obama is making a mess of quite a lot, there are still MANY GOOD things about Democrats who can not be blamed for all of this mess!

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 11/20/13 - 01:45 pm
3
4
editorial

"“ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”"

If we try to make this statement relivent to today, we must ask a few questions. Are there really people who are in need of welfare, food-stamps, Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare? The answer MUST BE YES! Are there people on these rolls that do not need to be on these programs, the answer is yes! As for doing what The US needs from the people, I say, AGAIN, The US government has taken advantage of hundreds of thousands of American Troops who have been FORCED to fight un-necessary wars which put them in harm's way and made millions of people very un-trusting of our government!! Perhaps this and other terrible reasons are the things that keep people from doing better at helping out the country!!

myfather15
57307
Points
myfather15 11/20/13 - 01:51 pm
6
2
"Just because it seems, even

"Just because it seems, even to me, President Obama is making a mess of quite a lot, there are still MANY GOOD things about Democrats who can not be blamed for all of this mess!"

Democrats?? Absolutely!! I agree with you 100%!!

But the FAR LEFT that have overtaken the democratic party? No, there is no good in them that I can see!! They are not compassionate, caring or concerned!! Those are just political tools of PC that they use!! They have a radically different vision of what they want this Country to be and they will say and do ANYTHING to radically change this Country!! They use compassion for the poor, sick, needy, elderly, children, etc; as nothing but a political weapon of mass destruction!! The extreme left doesn't give a flip for any of those people!! They care about their plan and will use ANYTHING to accomplish their plan!! Their lying and deceitfulness is what's tearing this Country apart!

Bizkit
35756
Points
Bizkit 11/20/13 - 01:56 pm
4
1
Politicians create a

Politicians create a division-thats what gets them elected. But reality is most Americans have similar goals and wishes and a strong sense of nationality. We need to remember that when we get all caught up in the political rhetoric-because we don't want another civil war-brother killin' brother. Lincoln never claimed a particular denomination or church but was a devoted believer in God, God's plan in life, and scripture-spoke of it often in speeches. I know atheist hate that because they don't believe in God. But that's OK God still believes in them. As Christ said-the main message is love. You don't have to be religious to grasp that concept.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 11/20/13 - 02:21 pm
8
2
Funny how liberals such as
Unpublished

Funny how liberals such as GAC constantly say that it's greedy to want to keep what you earned, but somehow it's not greedy to want to take from those who earned.

myfather15
57307
Points
myfather15 11/20/13 - 02:21 pm
5
1
Having said that!!

There are many aspects of the republican party that I certainly don't care for either!!

There is SOME truth in what all parties say!! I'm reasonable enough to understand that. There is TRUTH to what democrats say about the GREED in this Country being out of control!! Not just in this Country, but the ENTIRE WORLD is consumed with greed!! Poor people DO have a hard time in life!! I'm not just talking about sorry, lazy people; I'm talking about people that WORK HARD!! They have a hard time in life!!

But the left doesn't truly care about those people; they are just tools!! Obama has done NOTHING to help the poor, yet gets credit as a savior!! People are just as poor today as when he took office, many in MUCH worse shape!! Yet, somehow he gets a pass on this!!

But yes, there is some truth in what BOTH sides say and BOTH sides use US as political weapons!!

myfather15
57307
Points
myfather15 11/20/13 - 02:27 pm
3
4
HA

No, it's not greedy to want to keep what you earn. It's greedy to make millions of dollars and pay your employees minimum wage or just above it!! That, I will stand firm on! I see it all the time. I know men who are millionaires, but won't take ANY cut in their profits to pay their workers more!!

I personally know a man who owns a whole chain of convenience stores. I know him, I know where he lives, what he drives and a LOT about him. He wastes more money that you can count!! Yes, it's his to waste, I would certainly make that point. But I also know many of his employees are struggling to put food on the table!! Maybe he could sacrifice buying 3 or 4 new cars every year and help them out a little more!!

There is no political bias in that!! I believe in the FREE MARKET and Captialism. I don't believe we need government interfering in it. We need PEOPLE to stop being greedy with their FREE WILL!!

harley_52
26113
Points
harley_52 11/20/13 - 02:44 pm
5
3
"Maybe he could sacrifice buying 3 or 4 new cars every year...

....and help them out a little more!!"

Who makes that judgement? Him, or you?

Could you sacrifice a little more to give a little more of your wealth to someone who needs it more than you do?

Do people benefit more from handouts, or motivation to self-achieve?

harley_52
26113
Points
harley_52 11/20/13 - 03:01 pm
3
3
"There is TRUTH to what democrats say about the GREED....

....in this Country being out of control!"

"Greed" is what makes the world go 'round.

Without "greed," we are all willing slaves.

Young Fred
21146
Points
Young Fred 11/20/13 - 03:01 pm
6
1
Ya know, to this day, when I

Ya know, to this day, when I hear the national anthem sung in front of a large crowd, with request to “remove your hats”. And when I hear a prayer spoken in front of thousands of people. When I hear a repeat of the Gettysburg address, a reading of the Delaration of Independence, or an anecdotal story of Ronald Regan's humanity, I still get choked up and sometimes have to fight back tears.

I've been accused of being hopelessly bourgeois and jingoistic. I think of myself as grounded and thankful!

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