Sunday, November 13, 2016

A few minutes of your time...can change the world

     The year was 1863, the place Gettysburg, Pennsylvania  where a gathering was going to take place to consecrate the grounds there as a memorial cemetery. President Abraham Lincon was invited at the last minute to speak, he wasn't even originally scheduled to attend. The reason for his invitation was due to the inability of a famous orator who was to speak that day. The "Gettysburg Address" as it is known was written on the way up from Washington DC and was roughly 11 minutes in length. It is considered to be one of the greatest speeches ever given and certainly one that has relevance today.

     "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the idea that all men were created equal" This is the first line of the speech, and we see here that Lincon spoke to the roots of why the United States came to be. While the language could be interpreted to mean "white males" Lincon talked about "men" as to say humanity. Equality of opportunity is the equality of which he spoke and did so with great eloquence.

    The next few lines of his speech expound further upon his initial point as follows. "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 battle-field 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." Lincon lays out the reason for why he's speaking and the purpose of his words. 

    The election of 2016 was vicious and divisive in its entirety, leaving deep scars upon the psyche of our nation. Here in 1863, the United States was in the midst of a greater danger of lost entirely and due to differences in our beliefs as we see today. I am not suggesting that we will face a second American Civil War but that we now see that that struggle for freedom still goes on even today. American's have never shirked their duty to fight for the ideals that founded this nation or to even die for those beliefs. However, it is this author's opinion that we have forgotten to live for our beliefs, martyrdom is not the way forward for our people.

    The final paragraph of the address then challenges us as a people and a nation to renew that will to live for our country, its ideals, and most of all to honor those who have sacrificed so much for us. Please read below.

 "But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not 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."

   Lincon challenged the nation on that day in 1863 over a hundred and fifty-four years ago.  We have elected Donald Trump, yet many feel as though they in the loss of Hillary Clinton, were cheated. Before this President-Elect Trump refused to comment if he would accept the results if he had lost the election. This result disturbed many people, this author included, as such his conduct appeared unpresidential if not outright dangerous. While this nation has endured many trials and tribulations our next four years and beyond will be more so. 
We are called upon to stand together to move our country forward, working for that "rebirth of freedom." It is incumbent upon each citizen of the United States of America to become educated in the duties and responsibilities of being a citizen of our Federal Republic. Do not rest on your laurels waiting for someone to show you the way or to do it for you. America does not need or want such people in her borders. Freedom requires hard work and sacrifice, and it is each of us that must do this daily.
Freedom is precious but like life itself, it must be cared for daily and lovingly maintained regardless of the cost. So in this, I say clearly and loudly "I will stand for the rights of all citizens regardless of race, creed, color, or religion to live as they so choose within the laws of our nation." Furthermore I will stand in defense of all human beings for the rights inherent as a member of the human race regardless of where or how they came to be. I ask and humbly beseech the rest of my countrymen to dedicate themselves to the same.

 In short a few minutes of your time really can change the world...


1 comment:

  1. Yes, we are in the midst of conflict. Elitist pundits and politicians underestimated the degree of despair of many Trump supporters caught in joblessness and reduced opportunity. That racism and every other bigotry as well as misogyny have entered that legitimate frustration dilutes and diverts their concerns. These underepresented now dismiss the legitimate fear their prejudice has unleashed on vulnerable populations and condemn the upwelling of opposition demonstrations. This is an impasse that any degree of 'coming together' might obscure, and we need to confront the abysses that separate the understanding (or not) one group has of the other. Can there be a "new birth of freedom" that does not seem to threaten others' expression? Can there be a value of decency that both sides can accept? Can the government of, by, and for the people perish? It can, and has, in other contexts, and in instances within our own country. Can one side who had threatened to contest a 'rgged' election understand another side that protests a win due only to the electoral college, which a popular vote undermines? Unraveling the complexities of current opposition seems difficult at best and demands effort on both sides reaching the limits of what is unacceptable to either side. I do not know whether promises of solidarity with the oppressed will be sufficient to hold the conflicts at bay...A period of anxious waiting punctuated by various acts of violence seems the only certainty.