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Mena Arkansas News covering Polk County and the surrounding area

Reflections from History and Faith: Celebrating Lincoln

For many years it has been an American tradition to honor America’s presidents during the month of February. However, this tradition like many others may be in jeopardy as the Woke and Counterculture movement(s) are actively and relentlessly trying to erase and rewrite practically all of our nation’s history. Unfortunately, they are succeeding and in far too many precincts in America. What will be their next move? How many more statues and memorials will be desecrated or removed?  

The 1619 Project is perhaps their most threatening effort because it is designed to further indoctrinate the minds of our young into the false narrative that America’s founding is defined by slavery – not freedom. This has been embraced by liberal, so-called progressive ideology which has permeated much of academia, the media and the Democratic Party. Tragically, it will likely soon make deeper inroads into the curricula of our nation’s secondary schools where it will brainwash more younger generations of students, accelerating the transformation of America that the forty-fourth President of the United States set out to do 12 years ago. This movement’s resolve was further confirmed when The President’s Advisory 1776 Commission was dissolved through one of President Joe Biden’s executive orders on his first day in the White House.

This Commission was established by President Donald Trump and comprised of some of America’s most distinguished scholars and historians. Their report, released in January 2021, presents a definitive chronicle of the American founding, a powerful description of the principles of the Declaration of Independence have had on this Nation’s history, and a dispositive rebuttal of reckless “re-education” attempts such as the 1619 Project that seek to re-frame American history around the idea that the United States is not an exceptional country but an evil one. I believe The 1776 Report should be read by every American. Here is a link: https://info.hillsdale.edu/1776-commission

Now let’s celebrate our nation’s sixteenth president, one who many believe to be our greatest – Abraham Lincoln. He was born on February 12, 1809 in Hardin County, Kentucky. Few presidents came from more humble beginnings and faced greater odds and challenges in their lifetime.  

Abraham Lincoln: failed in business in 1831; was defeated for legislature in 1832; lost his job and couldn’t get into law school; declared bankruptcy, and spent the next 17 years of his life paying off the money he borrowed from friends to start his business; was defeated for the legislature again in 1834; suffered a broken heart when the girl he was engaged to died in 1835; had a nervous breakdown in 1836 and spent the next six months in bed; was defeated in becoming the speaker of the state legislature in 1838; was defeated in becoming an elector in 1840; was defeated for Congress in 1844 and 1848; was rejected for the job of Land Officer in his home state in 1849; was defeated for the Senate in 1854; was defeated for Vice-President in 1856; and was defeated for the Senate for the third time in 1858. On November 6, 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States.

Abraham Lincoln’s greatness is most often attributed to his leadership as America’s president during the Civil War (1861-1865). However, the balance of his life demonstrated that greatness first and foremost originates in personal virtue and character. He came by his nickname “Honest Abe” quite honestly. As but one example, when he was a young storekeeper in New Salem, IL, he accidentally shortchanged a customer by six and a quarter cents. Upon discovering the error, he walked 6 miles to pay the money back. Though he failed in more endeavors than he succeeded, Lincoln came to see failure only as a decision to give up. In his words, “The path was worn and slippery. My foot slipped from under me, knocking the other out of the way, but I recovered and said to myself, it’s a slip and not a fall.” In his quest for and commitment to public service, he stated “The sense of obligation to continue is present in all of us. A duty to strive is the duty of us all. I felt a call to that duty.”

In addition to his two most famous speeches, the Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln gave many other speeches, both during and prior to his presidency. One of them, the Lyceum Address, was presented before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois on January 27, 1838. This speech not only held broad implications for Lincoln’s later public policies but perhaps as important had/has a more timely and potent message for 2021 America. This speech was effectuated by a fire set in St. Louis by a mob a few weeks earlier. Lincoln’s subject was “the perpetuation of our political institutions.” Incidentally; the Lyceum Address is referenced in the 1776 Commission Report. Following are some important and pertinent points and excerpts:

Lincoln warned of two results of a growing disregard for the rule of law. The first was mob rule: “whenever the vicious portion of population shall be permitted to gather in bands of hundreds and thousands, and burn churches, ravage and rob provision-stores, throw printing presses into rivers, shoot editors, and hang and burn obnoxious persons at pleasure, and with impunity; depend on it, this Government cannot last.”

Lincoln also warned of those of great ambition who thirst and burn for distinction; and, if possible, he will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves, or enslaving freemen. Is it unreasonable then to expect that some man possessed of the loftiest genius, coupled with ambition sufficient to push it to its utmost stretch, will at some time spring up among us? And when such a one does, it will require the people to be united with each other, attached to the government and laws and generally intelligent, to successfully frustrate his designs.

Whether left or right, Democrat or Republican, liberal, libertarian or otherwise – both mob rule and tyrannical rule violate the rule of law because both are rule by man’s unrestrained base passions rather than by personal self-restraint/self-government possible only through applied religious [Christian] principle which includes the belief in a future state of rewards and punishments. In the end, Lincoln’s solution must also be our solution:

“Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others. As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor;–let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the character of his own, and his children’s liberty. Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap–let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs;–let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice.”

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