Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Times That Bind

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8.  Among the items that have caught my attention over the course of the past few weeks are those that speak of the anticipated unrest and turmoil that awaits us all on Wednesday, November 9, irrespective of whichever one of the Dynastic Duo ascends to the throne.  For whatever it is worth - and perhaps it is not worth even the virtual paper upon which these words are written - while these times are not America's best of times - this nation has endured its share of hardships.  The territory we presently occupy might very well be hostile but it is not - by any stretch of the imagination - uncharted.  

We might be well advised, should we awaken on Wednesday morning on the wrong side of the Electoral College futon, to consider the words of Abraham Lincoln.  President Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address was given on March 4, 1865.  While the War Between the States was over for all intents and purposes, Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia was still slightly more than one month away.  Tragically, President Lincoln's assassination would follow Lee's surrender less than one week later.  

President Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address was only seven hundred and one words long and it took him approximately seven minutes to complete.  It is replete with simply extraordinary language, which Lincoln put to beautiful use and which holds up, today, more than a century and a half after he lent his voice to those words, including but by no means limited to the eighty or so that comprise its final paragraph:  

With malice toward none, with charity toward all, with firmness in the right,
as God gives us to see the right, let us strive to finish the work we are in, 
to bind up the nation's wound, to care for him who shall have borne the battle,
and for his widow and orphans; to do all which may achieve and cherish a
just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. 

This nation survived the War Between the States.  It survived the murder of the wartime President who oversaw the Union's preservation during that protracted, bloody, internal conflict.  The question is not whether we the people of these United States possess the ability to ensure the Union's preservation regardless of the outcome of a Presidential election.  Rather, the question is one of our will.  

If we believe - as I do - that we live in a time in this nation devoid of a Lincoln to lead us, then we shall have to look, first, inward, and thereafter at one another to find the persons to whom the responsibility of binding up our nation's wound shall be entrusted.  It shall not be an easy task to accomplish but it is not, by any acceptable definition of the term, impossible.  

Remember to set your clock back an hour tonight before you go to sleep.  Daylight Savings Time ends tonight and, on this one night only, we "gain" an additional hour's sleep.  Take advantage of it. Regardless of whatever happens on Tuesday, we have a lot of work ahead of us.  We shall need to be as well-rested as we can be. 


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