Lincoln


“The assertion that “all men are created equal” was of no practical use in effecting our separation from Great Britain and it was placed in the Declaration not for that, but for future use.” Abraham Lincoln

The music was playing yet it seemed as if the theater was totally quiet.  The movie had ended and the credits were rolling on

English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth Presid...

Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States

the screen yet no one spoke, no one moved, no one got up to leave – everyone sat silently staring at the screen, not even turning to look at whoever they had come to the movie with.  Finally, as the credits began to end, one by one people began to get up from their seats and head for the theater lobby, again in total silence.  I turned and looked at my wife and she was in tears and I understood instantly what impact this film had had on her.  For myself I was angry, very angry.

The movie? “Lincoln” by Steven Spielberg.

This film will certainly join “Schiendler’s List,” the other great Spielberg film, as one of the best motion pictures of all time.  It is a powerful piece of cinematic story telling and I’m sure the quality of the experience had something to do with the audience’s reaction.  However, my belief is that what stunned the audience was the contrast between real, principled presidential leadership with the lack thereof from the current occupant of the Oval Office, and for that matter most of the recent occupants.

“Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as a heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors.” Abraham Lincoln

In this portrayal of only a small portion of Lincoln’s tenure as President, Spielberg artfully and with great emotion presents a profile in courage, leadership and values of arguably one of our greatest Presidents.  Lincoln remained focused on restoring the union and fulfilling the promise made with the Constitution to provide equality for all people regardless of race.  He accomplished both by facing the problem and the opponents head-on and always from a place rooted in faith in God and universal principles of right and wrong. He wasn’t trying to transform America, he was trying to restore America.

What we saw from the brilliant performance by Daniel Day-Lewis was an authentic, heroic President that inspired and empowered the people.  This man, Abraham Lincoln, was tuff, sensitive, caring, wise, powerful and smart – he was an authentic man who knew what he had to do even when no one agreed with him.  Did he have shortcomings, certainly and these are woven into the story and the performance.  But above all he was a man for the time. A man for all times.

The movie inspired me to reacquaint myself with Abraham Lincoln, to learn who he was and how he became the President.  I downloaded and listened to a historical podcast by Michael Medved, “The Real Lincoln.”  What amazed me was how incongruous it was for Mr. Lincoln to have been elected President.  Mr. Lincoln was a “common man” and as it turns out that is exactly what was needed at that time in the history of our country.  He was a man of courage and purpose and not your typical politician. His goal was to serve the people and to empower them to fulfill their responsibilities as citizens.

Lincoln“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.” Abraham Lincoln

It was this stark contrast between the authentic leadership of Lincoln with the current crop of self-centered, power hungry politicians that brought the tears to my wife’s eyes and the anger to my heart.  How could we let this happen? To trade our liberty for token bits of security from Mother Government?  Why has the country, the majority of citizens turned away from the ideals of the Founding Fathers and now look to the government to take care of them?   Lincoln fought heavy odds to preserve and strengthen the principles of personal liberty and responsibility, in contrast Obama, the Democrats and most of the Republicans (especially the career politicians) want to impose their ideology and their all-powerful central planning vision on us.

Sitting in that auditorium drinking in the power of the film I felt the anger boil up.  The anger that my fellow citizens have fallen so far from what I judge to be the best governing structure ever created by man, the United States Constitution!

Go see this movie, own this movie, make sure your children and grandchildren watch this movie.  I know it’s hard but we must stand up as Lincoln did and do the right thing, to restore liberty, to reclaim the Power for the People.

“Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.” Abraham Lincoln

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About rightthoughts
Husband/ Father/ Grandfather/ Architect

5 Responses to Lincoln

  1. Wally MacMillan says:

    In valuing the Constitution we must also not neglect the value which many of the Amendments to the document that have contributed to the greatness of our nation.

    I agree that personal responsibility is an important tenant of a free society. However with my Christian upbringing, morality, and compassion I also believe in taking care of those who need help and have not been able to secure the prosperity that I and many others have been able to create for themselves. In the perfect world we should all be donating our time and resources to help the less fortunate. I think that many people who pay taxes in this country sincerely believe that they are helping the less fortunate through our government programs and entitlements rather than performing “good deeds” personally.
    Which is the great conundrum. To reduce government spending means reducing expenditures on entitlements. To replace these cuts means we all must take back the responsibility of “Doing God’s work” by volunteering, supporting and helping others in a more direct fashion.

    So the BIG question we all must answer is…
    Are real Americans willing to take back this moral responsibility?

    • Wally, thanks for the thoughtful reply. The final line in your response is exactly the issue. Well said!

      Left vs Right isn’t about helping or not helping, it’s about what and how much should be done by government. The genius and uniqueness of the USA is captured on our currency, the American Trinity (courteously Dennis Pager)

      Liberty
      E pluribus unum (out of any, one)
      In God we trust

      No other nation has ever made these the foundation of their governance.

  2. Bob, I have not yet seen the Lincoln movie so I have no way to comment on your response to it. I did, however, take deep exception to one of your questions: “Why has the country, the majority of citizens,””turned away from the ideals of the Founding Fathers and now look to the government to take care of them?” First, Bob, it’s absurd to suggest that “the majority” of Americans expect the government to take care of them. This argument is in line with former candidate Romney’s assertion that 47 percent of Americans are moochers (even he did not go for “the majority,” and the now cliche’d distinction between “makers” and “takers.” This is much too easy, much too glib.

    I happen to among those people you so readily accuse of (at least partial) dependency–in my case, on the Social Security system. I receive a modest monthly check. So does my wife, Ellie. We would not be able to make ends meet without them. But this is not a government handout. For every one of our working years we paid into this collective insurance system, precisely to avoid destitution and dependency in our older years. The same with Medicare. It is vital to our well-being–and it is something we have contributed to throughout our working lives, and continue now through deductions from our Social Security checks.

    And what about those you serve with such admirable dedication in the prison system? They, surely, are of necessity dependent on government. I suppose you could argue that it was their choice that led them to this predicament, and that their dependency is therefore a matter of their lack of personal responsibility. But given their current plight, and society’s need to keep them shut away, it becomes the responsibility of government to take care of their basic needs.

    I’d invite you to think, too, about those who are long unemployed, through none of their own fault; they have been laid off, perhaps they suffer from some work-related disability. Or those whose health care needs are far beyond their ability to pay. It is hardly anybody’s choice to be struck down with cancer, for example, but many people are and many of them have been rejected by private insurance companies or, for many of them, insurance benefits are totally insufficient to meet their needs. Do we let them die? No, because we recognize a responsibility to take care of others, not merely ourselves.

    I suppose there are some who make the choice of which you accuse “the majority.” It’s my choice, though, to believe that the vast majority of Americans do not choose dependency over individual freedom. I believe that a vast majority want to work, want to enjoy good health, want financial independence, want to take care of themselves. Indeed, I think it glib, if not outright arrogant, to accuse so many of something of which I think only a small handful may be guilty.

    Please reconsider this blanket condemnation of your fellow-citizens, Bob. They–and you!–are better than this.

    • Peter:

      “The larger the government the smaller the citizen!” Dennis Prager

      Oh, by the way I’m paying your social security and medicaid payments not the government. It isn’t insurance, it’s a ponzi scheme that more than likely won’t be available to me when I need it.

      Respectfully, Bob

  3. Pingback: SPIELBERG’S LINCOLN | Peter Clothier

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