The election I talked about in my last epistle is still not over. Half a dozen states are still being contested, law suits are being filed, accusations of election fraud are being tossed around and our country – once the envy of every nation in the world – is being mocked worldwide. This makes me sad.
I was recently asked the following question by a very compassionate and wise woman – you know her as Bett: Given everything that is going on in our country, what is the most important thing you want the next administration to work on? Here was my answer…
“Right now the political culture is Republicans versus Democrats. And there is a wide divide. I would love for the next administration to begin building bipartisan bridges where it is not us against them. So instead of Republicans versus Democrats, rather it is Republicans and Democrats working together for the good of our nation. The divide that exists in our country is just a reflection of the divide that exists in Washington. If we are indeed going to be the UNITED States of America then we need to model from the top down what that looks like.”
Interestingly, 160 years ago today, America elected a new president at a time when our country was probably even more divided than it is today. He received only 40% of the popular vote but still easily outdistanced the three other candidates that were on the ballot. That gives you an idea of the division that existed. That president was Abraham Lincoln.
By the time of Lincoln’s inauguration on March 4, 1861, seven states had seceded, and the Confederate States of America had been formally established. One month after that the Civil War began. Those were indeed dark days for our country. But as we look back through the lens of history, Lincoln is regarded as one of our greatest presidents for what he did to preserve these United States and to bring an end to slavery – and also for his powerful oratorical gifts. Here are a few quotes from him that are worth pondering during these turbulent days.
- “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
- “Those who look for the bad in people will surely find it.”
- “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.”
- “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”
- “Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”
- “I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.”
- “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”
- “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”
- “Life is hard but so very beautiful”
My hope and prayer is that our country will heal and will once again become the moral and democratic leader among the nations of the earth. Perhaps in the years to come the Lord will raise up a leader that can effectively lead us to that end so that you can experience the greatness of America that I have known. But no matter what happens…
… Never forget that you are very loved!