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Obama Doesn’t Belong At Gettysburg

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Today marks the 150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Barack Obama will not appear on site to spread his BS about. That is a good thing. Here is an article that puts the event, Obama and some of his predecessors in perspective:

Before taking office, President Obama organized communities.  President Eisenhower organized the defeat of tyranny.

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Fifty years ago, the great General gave two speeches on the fields at Gettysburg that we should read and reflect upon with new appreciation.  His challenges to us are more important today than they were in 1963.

would I rather take from a paternalistic government every possible immediate advantage it can give, even if I do not really need it?

This Tuesday marks the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, universally acclaimed as the greatest of American speeches.  As I and countless others have written about in the past few weeks, our current President refused to attend this commemoration, as he earlier refused to address the 150th anniversary of the epic battle itself.

President Obama may have thought himself in good company by his declining the offer to attend.  Though Presidents spoke at the 50th and 75th anniversaries of the Gettysburg Address, President Kennedy also failed to attend either celebration on the 100th anniversary in 1963.  Instead, President Kennedy asked former President Eisenhower, who had retired to a farm near the battlefield, to deliver remarks for the occasion.

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As a nation we should be thankful Mr. Obama missed both anniversaries, as his words would assuredly fail to rise to the level of Lincoln’s, nor to the wisdom of either of General Eisenhower’s.  We should, however, pause this week to reflect on President Eisenhower’s words.  Here are some brilliant observations from the World War II hero, taken from both of his Gettysburg speeches in 1963:

But other threats to liberty are not so easily recognized as those loudly proclaimed by foreign cliques, hostile to our way of life. Lincoln, speaking from a platform only a few hundred yards from this one, did not direct his words toward the nation’s war-time opponents – not to the leaders of the states that were, as he saw it, trying to destroy the great American experiment in representative government. He was appealing to his fellow-citizens – the soldiers and citizenry of the North – to be, under God, strong in their faith in freedom and vigorous and selfless in their actions to support that faith. His message, then should ring loud and clear in our ears this day and always. For destruction of self-government, as he implied, need not result from the strength of known, outside enemies; it could come about through weaknesses in ourselves.

Eisenhower asked us to have the courage, as individuals and as a nation, to ask ourselves some “searching questions” about the nature of self-government that so many died protecting on the fields at Gettysburg:

  • Does self-government, for me, mean sturdy self-reliance – depending upon myself for all those things, tangible and intangible, that I am able, without governmental interference, to provide myself and my family?
  • would I rather take from a paternalistic government every possible immediate advantage it can give, even if I do not really need it?
  • Do I understand that for every responsibility I hope to shift to government I lose something of my individual rights and opportunities and self-reliance?
  • Do I identify in my own mind the issues and problems now concerning the nation, and try to inform myself concerning them as far as may be possible, so as to form my own conclusions concerning them? Or would I, ignoring the need for personal searching and study, rather live in ignorance, and give my support according to my prejudices and my hope of some gain won at the expense of my fellows?
  • Do I realize that if enough Americans fail to practice self-government seriously, the whole concept will eventually be lost and government will be that of a clique of even of an individual?

The wisdom of one of our nation’s greatest Generals, a great man in the classic sense, gives us inspiration even today:

In the days of my youth there was an old saying, “The mind, like steel, stays bright through use.” The same applies to self-government. Its constant practice keeps it healthy, strong and vigorous.

None of us would ever, consciously, place a selling price on his right to participate in self-government. But, bemused by glittering governmental pledge to relieve us of sometimes burdensome responsibilities for self, family and community, and bewitched by enticing offers of unneeded subsidy, we need constantly to re-dedicate ourselves to liberty, duty and democracy – never forgetting self-respect.

We read Lincoln’s sentiments, we ponder his words – the beauty of the sentiments he expressed enthralls us; the majesty of his words holds us spellbound – but we have not paid to his message its just tribute until we – ourselves – live it. For well he knew that to live for country is a duty, as demanding as is the readiness to die for it. So long as this truth remains our guiding light, self-government in this nation will never die.

So President Obama did not honor the sacrifices of Gettysburg this past spring, and will not commemorate one of our nation’s proudest moments this week at the cemetary which Lincoln dedicated.  His decision should not trouble us as a nation, for we have the words of the great General Eisenhower to remind us of the dangers facing American self-government.  If those dangers worried President Eisenhower in 1963, imagine their gravity now.  Ike’s warnings are more than a call for political change – we must all ask ourselves the probing questions he asked about our own attitudes and character.  Would we rather take all we can from a “paternalistic government” – or would we rather be free?

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