The New Gettysburg Address

On 16 April 2014, after listening to a lecture about Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, I wrote the following:

Two Hundred and thirty-eight years ago, the founders of this mighty nation espoused an idea borne of enlightenment; that all men were created equal and that freedom and liberty should flow from that equality. Sadly, though, only men of a certain stature or standing were deemed worthy of such liberty and freedom – despite the birthright of equality bestowed upon all. To correct this injustice, a great Civil War was fought to settle the issue regarding the extent and nature of such birthright – the right which states: to be born is to be equal.

But the ghosts of some who fought and lost that war still haunt this nation in the year 2014. Those ghosts continue the battle to deny all that which they hold dear for themselves. Subsequently, a new Civil War erupted in 1865 and still rages today. This war is designed to deny many of us the same freedoms claimed by this nation’s fathers. This new war, fought with words and violence under the force of law has claimed thousands –- many of whom were as worthy as many of those laid to rest in Arlington. For too many, the law begins and ends on the page without ever touching the heart; hence this war.

To that end, it is both our burden and our privilege, to ensure that those before us who fought, wept and died for freedom and liberty for all – whether it be in the first Civil War or the one that still rages today – did not or have not done so in vain, so that this nation, shall again be reborn and that a government of all the people, by all the people and for all the people might actually be on earth.

Carlespie Mary Alice McKinney
16 April 2014

You may read Lincoln’s version below.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

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.

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.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

Published in: on June 22, 2014 at 2:35 AM  Leave a Comment  
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The Nature of Power [an excerpt from the book, “Why They Think I’m Crazy”]

Abraham Lincoln once stated, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” The philosopher, Jean Satre believed that more than self-preservation, humans want to project or exercise power [as in, “the Will to Power] and when that power is frustrated, then the words of R.G.H. Siu are most revealing: “Cruelty is only a tantrum of frustrated power.”

Power can intoxicate, blind, seduce and mislead; it is the stuff of horrors and tragedies. Of all the good power can do, it can do even more harm and is most dangerous in the hands of those who are tubby of spirit and mind — those whose perceptions of themselves exceed the reality of themselves.

Note the clerk behind the counter. Even though he may be a low-wage earner, he has the power to obstruct or facilitate the needs of those who seek his services. He can serve or he can rule. He can delay, lose, destroy or expedite. He can do so without technically violating company policy or if he does, he can do so with near impunity. And his boss, the CEO can do the same — and more.

Power is best exercised by those who would sip it from the glass and who drink it as part of the meal. Power is exercised at worst by those would gulp it from the goblet as the entire meal itself. For some, power strokes the ego. For others it masturbates the ego but for a few who are truly worthy, it subdues the ego. In short, the fool who exercises power grabs the sword by the blade. The not-so-foolish who exercises power grabs the sword by the handle, but the truly wise who exercise power first grabs the sheath for she knows power, like the sword, need not always be drawn.

Published in: on March 18, 2012 at 8:13 PM  Leave a Comment  
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