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Quote of the Day

Now he belongs to the ages. — Secretary of War Stanton, at the death of President Abraham Lincoln, April 15, 1865

30 Days of Abraham Lincoln – Day 30

The people of these United States are the rightful masters of both Congresses and courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution. — 1859

My Take – We hold a revolution in this country almost every year.  Through local, state, and federal elections, we regularly have the opportunity to replace our servants and representatives.  It is our way of making our voices heard and of reminding those who work for us that their wishes and desires are subordinate to their duty to us.

This may be why it disturbs me when so few people are actually interested in politics.  Not everyone has the inclination or the time to be a political geek, but the amount of effort it takes to be informed and motivated to take the time to vote is minimal.  This apathy is the real enemy to our freedom.  When such a large part of our nation decides that doing the one thing that can cause change in government isn’t worth their time, then the power is held by those who vote and those who influence them.

It’s getting very close to the deadline to be registered to vote for November.  If you’re not registered, please do.   I don’t care if you vote for Obama, or Romney, or Johnson, or the High Exalted Poobah of the Royal Order of Water Buffalo, just vote.

30 Days of Abraham Lincoln – Day 29

Truth is generally the best vindication against slander. — 1864

My Take — The truth shall set you free, as the saying goes.  Writers like Linoge and Borepatch, who cross swords with hucksters using only their brains and their words, do more to shine light on an artificially dark world in one post than I can ever do in a lifetime of singing into the echo chamber.  The proper defense against a press that is dedicated to only telling the news that they like is to broadcast the truth for any who wish to hear.  Those who watch and report, even when we are admittedly partisan in what we watch, are the answer to “Who shall watch the watchers?” when the watchers have decided that being impassive observers does not serve their personal ambitions.

30 Days of Abraham Lincoln – Day 28

We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. — 1864


My Take – I have to believe that those who oppose me do so because we disagree on definitions and ideas, not because one of us is evil and the other one is less so.  We both want freedom and prosperity, but we disagree on what those words mean.  I believe in freedom of speech and religion, and equality of opportunity.  They seem to believe in freedom of speech and religion also, but in other ways.  They also believe in equality, but it seems to be equality of outcome, not opportunity.  They believe that freedom means being free from fear and from want.  I believe that freedom means being free from interference in my quest to provide for myself and my own, so that we need not feel fear or want.

That’s not to say that our disagreements do not get heated and personal, for they do.  But even when I am mocking them, I try to remember that they are still human beings and fellow Americans.

There are those who do not wish for freedom for anyone other than themselves, but I don’t consider them opponents. They are beneath my contempt, and I consider them the same way I consider all parasites.  I’m sure the feeling is mutual.


30 Days of Abraham Lincoln – Day 27

Must a government of necessity be too strong for the liberties of its own people, or too weak to maintain its own existence? — 1861


My Take – As a voter and a taxpayer, I’m a mean sumbitch to work for.  I want that which the government is supposed to be doing done very well and very efficiently.  On the other hand, I want that which the government isn’t supposed to be doing left undone by the government.  It’s a balancing act, which I know has rarely, if ever, been done.  But it seems that in my lifetime, the government has not only overdone that which it should not do and neglected that which it is mandated to do, but has done so with malice and forethought.

My hope is that we are starting to swing the pendulum back toward the middle, where the government is a minor annoyance in our lives as it conducts its necessary business. It’s a slow swing, and the trick will be keeping momentum without going too far into a state where the government does not have the power to do its duty, but I think we can make it happen so long as we don’t rush to the first strong man who claims to know the way to paradise or tear down the entire structure of the Republic to do it.

30 Days of Abraham Lincoln – Day 26

As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy. – Definition of Democracy

My Take – I barely know how to manage my own life, so who am I to tell someone else how to live theirs?  I resent others who offer opinions or commands without invitation, so I do my best to refrain from doing so myself.  You become a slave when you submit to the opinion that someone else is more capable than you are at living your life, and you become a master when you assume that you have the ability to make someone else live in a manner of which you approve.

30 Days of Abraham Lincoln – Day 25

It’s my experience that folks who have no vices have generally very few virtues. — 1862

My Take – If you can’t handle the parts of your life that you enjoy but aren’t exactly healthy for you, I fail to see how you can handle the parts of your life that are good for you but you don’t enjoy.  Life needs to be enjoyed, not endured.  The people I know who are in awesome physical shape, never drink, or smoke, or eat bacon, and seem to be trying to live forever are some of the most boring people I know.

30 Days of Abraham Lincoln – Day 24

In relation to the principle that all men are created equal, let it be as nearly reached as we can. If we cannot give freedom to every creature, let us do nothing that will impose slavery upon any other creature. — 1858

My Take – You can’t help everyone.  There is a finite amount of time, effort, treasure, sweat, and blood that can be expended on any goal, no matter how noble or important.  But the only way to optimize the use of those resources is to make sure that you aren’t doing something that makes the job harder, or worse, reverses any gains.

30 Days of Abraham Lincoln – Day 23

Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. And not to Democrats alone do I make this appeal, but to all who love these great and true principles. — 1856

My Take – The Constitution does indeed change, but it does so slowly and deliberately by design.  When we bend and twist what is already in it in order to avoid having to change it, the fabric of our nation is torn.  The document is a limiting factor to the government, and an enabling factor to the citizens, not the other way around.  If something is indeed the right thing to do and will improve our country, then it is worth the time to amend the Constitution.  If it is not, then no amount of weasel words, spin, or downright untruth will make what you want to do constitutional.  In other words, if you chafe at the limits set by the Constitution and aren’t willing to do the right thing either by following those limitations or getting our permission to amend the Constitution, then you shouldn’t hold office of any kind.

For as long as I can remember, the country has been in a state of crisis.  We must do such and such NOW or the seas will rise, the mountains will crumble, and darkness will fall upon the land.  It has gotten so bad that legislators who want to actually read and understand legislation that will fundamentally change some aspect of our country are belittled and accused of dragging their feet.  Maybe dragging their feet would be a good thing.  If all laws must be passed in a hurry, with no thought to what they will actually do, then there is no way to know if they will fit within the framework of the Constitution.  Leaving it to the courts to decide when you know that the law is probably unconstitutional, or worse, don’t know one way or the other, is irresponsible and reprehensible.

Both parties have been guilty of this in the last decade alone.  The Republicans used the attacks of 9/11 to push through the Patriot Act, which pretty much amounted to a shopping list of powers provided by the law enforcement and intelligence services.  Over the past 10 years, it has been used with increasing frequency to investigate and intimidate citizens with no connection to terrorism.  The GOP has also been the strongest bastion of the drug warriors, who have used the fear of narcotics to create a situation in which ordinary Americans are treated more harshly than we treat the actual drug smugglers. Seriously, are police departments sending in SWAT teams to arrest actual dangerous gangsters and shooting their dogs with the frequency they are doing it to the rest of us?  In both cases, the Fourth Amendment has been shredded to being almost meaningless.

The Democrats have used public uproar over crimes committed with guns to pass gun legislation, both at the national and state level, that walks all over the Second Amendment.  Only by luck was the 1994 federal assault weapons ban sunsetted into oblivion.  How easy would it have been to not include that clause in the bill, or for President Gore to get it renewed in 2004?

The Dem’s also take a hit on this for the way that the economic bailouts of 2009 and 2010 were handed out.  If your organization or business was part of their constituency or donor pool, like UAW represented auto workers, you were taken care of.  If you fell outside of those two groups, like non-unionized auto workers, you were left out to twist in the wind.  If your ‘green energy’ snake oil needed a shot in the arm, all it took was a few strategic donations and your future was assured.  So much for equal protection under the law.  And now, I’m not saying that all companies in trouble should have received cash from Uncle Sugar. What I’m saying is that no companies should have received our money, and that the way it was distributed was unfair to the point of ridiculousness.

Both parties regularly blow their noses with the Constitution.  To me, the only difference is that they wipe with different pieces.  I know it’s been going on since about 30 seconds after the ink dried in 1789, but how much longer can the nation take this?  How long before even lip service isn’t given to the Constitution, and we truly fall into either chaos or a police state?   Remember, all it takes is one generation of Americans to lose interest, and our light that shines as a beacon to the entire world will be snuffed.

30 Days of Abraham Lincoln – Day 22

The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just; it shall not deter me. — 1839

My Take – When it’s more important to be true to yourself and to your values than it is to win, it is amazing how often you win precisely because you choose to stick to your values.  I think that’s one of the biggest problems I have with the last few crops of political leadership we have voted for ourselves.  Both parties pick seem to pick candidates that are likely to get elected, but will have to do on-the-job training on how to actually govern the country after the inauguration. Principles are folded, spindled, and mutilated in order to get every possible dollar and endorsement, and the country suffers when an individual who is all things to everyone tries to figure out just what they want to happen. 

In short, I would rather that my party or my leadership drew very stark lines in the sand, refused to move them, and went down in flames than for them to go along to get along and lead us further down the road to ruin.


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