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Posts Tagged ‘Lincoln’


When a person invites Christ to come into his or her life, everything changes. From that point forward, the convert has a new identity. In a similar way, the same is true with our identity as Americans. Without having an accurate understanding of who we are, we are like a ship with a faulty rudder—tossed about by slogans, which make it easy for us to be mislead.

That’s why our founding documents are so important. When you read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, you develop a sense of purpose that is similar to what the Founding Fathers must have felt. They understood they were paving the way for the generations that followed.

If you read the Gettysburg Address, you will feel Lincoln’s passion surging through your veins as he maintained his steadfast commitment to preserve our union. The same is true about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech, “I Have a Dream,” which he gave shortly before his assassination. If you experience Dr. King’s Christian faith, your heart will stir as you picture his vision of a color free society where every man and woman are free and equal.

America has been blessed with many far-sighted, noble leaders, men and women who have been willing to commit their lives, their wealth, and their sacred honor to ensure that the freedoms we take for granted would remain intact.

As for me, each time I read the inspiring documents of our American heritage, I understand our traditions a little better—a little more fully. We have a powerful birthright—an inheritance of freedom unequaled in world history. Truly, no nation has been blessed more than the United States of America. To preserve our freedoms, millions have fought for America—black, white, Asian, and Latino, many sacrificing their lives to ensure that we would remain free.

In the twenty-first century, our republic faces many challenges from without as well as from within. The question is this: will we maintain our commitment to preserve our heritage, or will we be the generation that allows the American dream to become unrecognizable and slip away?

As I see it, the stakes are high—with the outcome in doubt. Millions have little knowledge of our heritage, of what our traditions really are, or of what constitutes true American values. They simply float through life with little awareness of what has been required from others to make their lives carefree and easy. Voting for whoever will “guarantee” them prosperity, far too many Americans lack the background to make discerning choices—choices that are informed and wise. Adopting the attitude of “What’s in it for me,” they forget President Kennedy’s admonition to “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

This is why I have written We Believe: 30 Days to Understanding Our Heritage with my good friend David Dunham. It’s our hope that millions will read about our hallowed traditions and embrace our great ancestor’s belief system as their own.

It’s also why we have focused on the original documents, allowing people to read them with little narrative. We are convinced the words of our forefathers speak for themselves, and these great documents have maintained their inspiring power over the centuries. Those who read them will be strengthened with resolve—just like those who read them when they were originally penned.

Thomas Jefferson understood the importance of having a firm foundation when he wrote:

Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government…. Whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to right.

Jefferson believed that if people understood the issues, they would take the right course of action more often than not. This is our belief as well, and it’s why understanding our birthright is so important.

This is a time of great consequence in American history. We stand at the crossroads with millions willing to desert our American heritage to pursue an alternative direction. Not knowing our birthright or understanding it, they have willingly abandoned our heritage. For those of us who understand the consequences of such a departure, we feel the need to stand firmly for the American way of life—just as our fathers have done before us.

Will you stand with us—strong and unafraid? Can America count on you to do what is right, regardless of whether it benefits you or not? Will you put your nation first, before your own interests—just as millions have done for more than two centuries?

George Santayana, the Spanish-American philosopher, essayist and poet, once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  Will this be true of us? Will we wander so far from our heritage that America will no longer be the land of the free and the home of the brave? Will this be our destiny, or will we once again rouse ourselves from our lethargy, shake the sleep from our eyes, and vigilantly stand for the great tradition we have inherited? Will the generations that follow look to us as an example of strength and resolve, or will they point to us as a generation of weaklings that allowed it all to slip away?

Where you stand and what you do in the years to come will answer that question. Your actions—or your inactions—will determine the outcome. The choice is yours. What will you do?

As for me, I know what I will do. I choose to stand firmly, supporting the great tradition that has preceded us—no matter what.

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The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

 

—President Abraham Lincoln

October 3, 1863

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Our selection process for picking a Presidential candidate is so flawed; we have become unable to choose the best man or woman for the job. We don’t even look for the best person. Instead, we scrutinize candidates, looking for the one with the least flaws or negative baggage.

If our current methodology were operational throughout our history, many of our best leaders never would have survived the process. For example:

  • Thomas Jefferson, who had a slave concubine and plagiarized much of the Declaration of Independence from John Locke, would never have been taken seriously. The media would have crucified him.
  • Abraham Lincoln, who fought depression his entire life, would have been considered unstable and, therefore, unfit to lead.
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was the allied commander in Europe during World War II and responsible for defeating Hitler, maintained a mistress who traveled with him throughout the war as his secretary. He left his wife, Mamie, back home in Kansas. He would have been considered morally unfit to lead.
  • John F. Kennedy’s profligacy, which included movie stars, would never have survived the finger pointing of his rivals in the primaries.

There are many other good Presidents who would not have been electable, while many weak leaders would have survived, including Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama—the two worst Presidents in my lifetime. To be fair, mediocre Presidents like George W. Bush and Richard Nixon also would have survived. So would most of the Presidents of the late-nineteenth century—the ones nobody can remember.

The point is this: the mediocre survive the process. As finger pointing has become the norm, it seems that few ask the fundamental question, “Can the candidate in question lead us in perilous times or not?”

Take the current crop of Republicans for instance. If you’re going to choose—based on knit picking and who is safe—Romney is your guy. He is a good, safe bet—straight down the middle, as mediocre as they come. He looks good; he’s affable; and he will be whatever you want him to be—just as long as he thinks it will bring him victory. He’s the poster boy for playing the role of a Presidential candidate.

Herman Cain’s popularity, which has certainly peaked, is an exciting candidate. I love his honesty and his candor. By paying those women for their sexual harassment suits, however, his goose was cooked before he ever started. That’s as good as a nolo contendere plea. Actually, I’m not as concerned about the sexual discrimination issue as I am about his competency to lead. Frankly, I don’t think he can do it—nor can Bachmann or Santorum. Ron Paul’s followers are as faithful as hound dogs, but he’s a fringe player—just like Ralph Nader and Ross Perot were in the past.

That leaves two others—Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. Both have real records, which are impressive. Newt’s baggage appears to be more extensive, but he’s been in national politics much longer than Perry. The Texas Governor has an impressive record leading America’s second largest state, which is important, but he seems ill prepared in many areas.

That leaves Newt who hasn’t gone out of his way to impress me with his conservative credentials, but I still remember how he led the charge to turn the nation around in the mid-nineties. We need someone to do that again, and I believe he can. What has impressed me the most is his knowledge. He’s capable of leading us in turbulent times. I’m certain of it. Finally, I believe he’s eaten enough crow to know he doesn’t want to make a fool out of himself again, but only time will tell.

—Jack Watts

QUESTIONS:

  • What do you think of this editorial? Be specific with your comments.
  • Do we pick the safest candidate or the best one?
  • Which Republican candidate would make the best leader? Why?
  • Is Herman Cain’s candidacy finished?
  • Can Rick Perry’s candidacy make resurgence? If so, how?

If you want to join the discussion, go to http://webelieveamerica.com/forum/topics/who-will-be-the-republican-presidential-candidate and let your voice be heard.

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