Now scrolling: The Gettysburg Address

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.

Friday, November 28, 2008

As Abraham Lincoln said....

" a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection."

Nice to hear that Lincoln is alive and well in Presidential acceptance speeches. And this is just the beginning. Not only is Obama's Inauguration theme, "A New Birth of Freedom," taken from a line in Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, but his entire leadership style seems to be informed by Lincoln's political wisdom.

It is no secret that Doris Kearns Goodwin's book about Lincoln, "A Team of Rivals," has inspired his method of choosing a cabinet, from retaining Robert Gates to considering Hillary Clinton. His preference for strong personalities with dissimilar views says as much about his own security among opposition as it does about his admiration of a man who made similar bold choices -- a man from his own home state of Illinois.

Goodwin, who met with Obama about her book, recently told NEWSWEEK, "I think he's got a temperamental set of qualities that have some resemblance to Lincoln's emotional intelligence."

If so, he is positioned for a time with as much conflict as the Civil War offered Lincoln. A rising star in his own right, he will need all the considerable gifts he has been given to navigate the economic and political minefields ahead.

But then, this is what great men are raised up to do.