Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Election - What I've been thinking about.......

A few of my liberal friends have written me since Election Day to gloat (2) and to ask if I've finished mourning (3).
All of them asked me to finally "admit" that Barack Obama's election was "a great day for America and Americans."
My quick answer to them could be "not so fast," but I imagine I would be the one asking questions and gloating if my side had been victorious! Better to give the victor his spoils ..... for now.

To use a phrase that our new President-elect is fond of........."Here's.... (dramatic pause for effect).... what I know."
Barack Obama is the President-elect of the United States of America. He will be my President come January 20th. even though I supported the other fella. As such, I'd be willing to take a bullet for President Obama, just as I'd be willing to take a bullet for any American President, (except one). In addition, this election once again proves to the rest of the world that a free Constitutional Republic, is without question, the most stable form of government. A Free Market Democracy is the single, most amazing, perpetuating "engine" the world has ever seen. The successful election and orderly transfer of power is what scares the absolute crap out of our enemies - both at home and abroad.

This historic election of the first black American President, does make me proud. There is the feeling I have that at least another portion of "the old ghosts" my generation grew up with, are gone from the American scene. I was heartened to see that so many white Americans voted for Obama. I'm sincerely happy about that. (I think I read where 70% of single white women voted for Obama....which could also be interpreted - I suppose - that John McCain just didn't have the sex appeal necessary to be President). Suffice it to say that I have already said my prayer for Barack and his family, that he has a successful Presidency, and that he governs smartly justly & Constitutionally.

I have not been heartened by Obama's initial selections for posts in his administration. I thought Obama promised to be the candidate of change? Last week the early "tally sheet" indicated that 31 of his first slew of appointments had been for "re-treads" from the Clinton Administration. And a few of them were for some of the most notoriously militant liberals. That's not change we can believe in - that's a return to a disgraced & besmirched era in the American Presidency! I would have thought that Obama's transition team was much smarter than that.

Additionally, I've been troubled by what has become a daily "deification" of our President-elect. I've heard news anchors, politicians (Democrats), show-biz celebrities, and even some average citizens interviewed on the street, extolling the virtues and singing the praises of Barack Obama. Many times the phrase, "he's here to save us" has been used in all its different variations.

Here's a news flash folks....Barack Obama is not "our savior." That job is already taken, and required the successful applicant to have died for all our sins, and call "The Big Man Upstairs" Daddy!!

And another thing.....don't you think it might be a good idea to give the guy a chance to get into the Oval Office at least for one day before you start screaming that he is the reincarnation of George Washington, Abe Lincoln, FDR and Frederick Douglas all rolled into one??? Please let's all take a deep breath. Let the man g-o-v-e-r-n for a while. Let him find his own "voice" for that most difficult of offices. He's got such a weight upon him....don't overburden him with all these expectations.

My promise to our newly elected President, and his wife, is that I will vocally support you when I am in agreement with you decisions, and that I will vocally disagree with you when I oppose your decisions. Further, I will always respect the Office and Position that you hold. That is much more - very much more - than the way the Democrat party, you & your campaign, and the Press have treated President George W. Bush these last 8 years.

Dum Spiro Spero!

Kenneth A. Johnson
Email: bigeasy@comcast.net
BlogSpot: http://avenue-of-rememberance.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

If not for November 19th....Obama may never have been elected.

That's right. Obama may never have been elected two weeks ago, if it weren't for an anniversary we (always fail to) celebrate each November 19th.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of - in my opinion - one of the ten most important speeches in the history of the United States - and perhaps the world. And American students never even learn of its importance! Tomorrow is the 145th Anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

At best, most Americans exclaim "Oh yeah - that one!" when they hear..."Four score and seven years ago,...."
Few actually have been taught, or grasp, the importance of the speech. To most, it's just another speech by some dead old white guy who was President. (I've written about it before in my blog, but since no-one ever asks questions, and fewer still understand the importance of our history....well, let me not get into a 'rant' about the failings of our education system.)

Very quickly and to set the stage....
  • Lincoln was invited to Gettysburg to help dedicate a National Cemetery in remembrance of the 10,000 to 12,000 soldiers from both sides that died during the three day battle in July 1863 - just 3 months previously. (It is now estimated both American sides suffered between 46,000 and 51,000 casualties during the 3-day battle in the farm fields around Gettysburg).
  • In fact, "scars" from cannon and rifle fire still showed starkly white on the trunks of trees throughout the battlefield. Public buildings and private farms pressed into service as field hospitals still bore grotesque blood stains. Many soldiers too injured to return to their units, still remained in Gettysburg.
  • Certain portions of the cemetery were "roped off" by necessity, since forensic identification of the dead was on-going, and in truth, the stench must have been overpowering. (Gettysburg is the first time in history that forensics was used exhaustively on a battlefield).
  • Lincoln was NOT the principle speaker. He spoke FOLLOWING the 2-hour principal address delivered by Edward Everett.
Lincoln understood the solemnity and dignity required for his address......but unlike so many others, Lincoln painfully understood that the War our country was currently fighting - the war that had taken nearly 12,000 son's and father's just three months earlier on that very spot - the war that divided and might still fracture our country....... HAD TO CONTINUE! Or else everything that had been fought for, and died for, would be for nothing!

In just the last two sentences of the 257 word Address, Lincoln issues perhaps the most stirring call for national rededication ever uttered by an American President. At no less than 5 instances during those 2 sentences Lincoln tells his northern audience, (and the South once the Address is published and distributed), that the fight will continue until the War is won - otherwise our Nation might very well "perish from the earth."

As I wrote in my first blog on the subject....., imagine being a mother or young wife of a soldier fighting for the Union forces. Your "Johnny" has been gone these last 18 months and you've come to Gettysburg to hear the President speak - Hopefully to give you some hint about when Johnny will be coming home, and maybe to share some news about where your son's Company is fighting now... Imagine yourself like any mother with a son in uniform... knowing that your boy has been gone over 550 days as of yesterday, and that nearly 12,000 "son's" lie all around you - killed in only 3 days time!
And here is your President telling you that, not only is the fight not over, but that it MUST continue!

Lincoln hated the speech. He even mentioned to another dignitary on the platform that day, that he felt the crowd disliked it and it would not "score" was the word he used.

Imagine if Lincoln had not given that speech. Imagine if Lincoln had only consecrated the ground the cemetery had set aside. Or, imagine if Lincoln had said, "Enough! We can no longer sustain a war this costly to our nation. Everyone lay down your arms! If the South no longer wants to be a part of our country - let them go their own way!" Certainly the United States would be markedly different - if it even still existed.

Imagine that President-elect Obama!

Dum Spiro Spero!

"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