Imagine if President Obama were to deliver these words during his Second Inaugural Address:
“On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war … While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it ..."
Those words from Lincoln's magnificent and moving Second Inaugural Address illustrate how little – and how much – has changed in the century and a half since. Though the latter war was political, it, too, has had disastrous consequences for the country. Chilling how history repeats itself.
In 2008, as in 1860, this country faced a monumental crisis. But rather than face that crisis together, now – as then – little men with massive egos put personal pique and political gain above country and deliberately sabotaged the efforts of the new President.
And just as many had a pathological hatred of President Lincoln, so many have a like hatred of President Obama. The fact that some of that pathological hatred was directed toward President Obama simply because of the color of his skin is more proof how little has changed, while the fact that he was elected – and has now been re-elected – is proof of how far we have come.
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We can never know what would have happened after the Civil War if President Lincoln had lived. But the conciliatory concluding words of his Second Inaugural Address provide instruction and suggest things might have been much different for the South.
“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
Again, those long ago eloquent words ring as true today. And now – as then – fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, history doesn’t repeat itself, and President Obama lives to try and fulfill Lincoln’s noble hopes for this nation.
©2012 Tom Cordle