Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy 200th birthday, Abe!

When I started working in the US a few decades ago, there were two President's birthdays we celebrated as national holiday in February: George Washington's and Abraham Lincoln's. I still think that's the way it should be. When they lumped the two into one and calling Washington's birthday the President's Day, they really adulterated the significance of the celebration. American people can make mistakes, not every president they elected deserves that kind of commemoration. There were plenty of four or even eight years of sufferance American people had to endure through in modern history.

Today is Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday, it should be a day of celebration. Happy birthday, Abe!

Let me celebrate the day by recalling some of Lincoln's timeless speeches which may still be immensely relevant today. Let me start by his first political announcement on March 9, 1832:
Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition. Whether it be true or not, I can say for one that I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem. How far I shall succeed in gratifying this ambition, is yet to be developed.
Note that Lincoln wished to be "truly estimated" by his fellow men and rendering himself "worthy of their esteem". Not to be worshiped as messiah by cult followers or idolized by obtuse, empty-headed media types. Abe Lincoln got nothing to hide, never has to "seal" any records from people. Abe Lincoln is a true natural born American, never ashamed of where or when he was born, never has to seal his birth certificate.

Lincoln's faith in God has never been questioned. This his words should be remembered by everyone:
I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord's side.
Now this from his first inaugural address on March 4, 1861:
I therefore consider taht in view of the Constitution and the laws, the Union is unbroken; and to the extent of my ability I shall taken care, as the Constitution itself expressly injoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully excuted in all the States.
Note that Lincoln never had to tell people "I won" and tried to push his ideology onto the people did not vote for him.

Here's what Lincoln had to say about history on December 1, 1862:
Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.
So in the long run everything will be judged by the history fairly, no one can alter it. (In the short run, however, the problem will be the so called "historians" are not much different from those obtuse, empty-headed media types.) The following tidbit told by Lincoln on September 30, 1859 can be a good quote to conclude this blog today:
It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: 'And this, too, shall pass away.' How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!
Yes, for us malcontent types who's counting the days to the next election -- This too shall pass!

Again, Happy 200th birthday, Abe!
God bless America!

P.S. I found the quotes from here and here.

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