I just finished a book titled “The President’s War”, by Chris DeRose, 2014. Here is his overall premise. In the mid-19th century, America’s democracy became endangered in a Civil War sparked by a constitutional crisis over slavery and the alleged right of states to nullify our federal laws. Shortly before this conflict began, Abraham Lincoln was lawfully elected as our first Republican Party President amidst fierce opposition to his policies from slave-owning states, former Presidents and both major, political parties. Many feared that he would overreach his constitutionally-granted power in war to silence the opposition on his own terms. Yet Lincoln saw little need to further tear apart the country by abandoning our country’s ideals for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.
In the posted video above, Mr. Lincoln’s thoughtful discourse surrounding his delivery of the Gettysburg Address on November 19,1863 seems to be a relevant model for viewing the recent actions of the Trump Presidency . Several ideas from his speech come to mind
1. A President’s powers should embrace the dignity of all people now just those who follow him/her.
2.If we are to remain the “United States of America”, the enduring precedents of the U.S. Constitution must be maintained.
3. A President should inspire a positive role model for the goodness of people and the continuance of our free voting system.
4. Moral standards of behavior should be respected and modeled when taking action of national interest of our country.
5. Our process of democratic government must foster intelligent discussion “of the people, by the people, and for the people” in making decisions of nationwide interest.
Foregoing the prospect of political gain, Lincoln’s calming words that day sought ways to unify our country amidst the bloodshed that was escalating throughout the country then. I challenge my informed readers to think deeply about how the five (5) ideals from this speech that day might foster constructive action today. I believe that whether our leaders are either “left”or “right” of political spectrum, they should never never give into deceit, inhumanity or ignorance as justification for short-sighted political action.