Obama, You’re No Abe Lincoln

Chuck Busch

This month, our country is remembering two famous Americans, Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. On November 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered his short (about 3 minutes) but inspiring speech at the dedication of the soldier’s cemetery in Gettysburg. November 22 marks the date when an assassin’s bullet ended the life of President Kennedy in Dallas, Texas exactly 50 years ago. Our current president has often sought to align or identify himself with either president at one time or another hoping that by association, some of their popularity might transfer to him. President Obama has characteristically had a way of inserting himself into every subject of historical note as the government’s historical website can attest to. The account of American’s remarkable achievements have been recently updated to reflect the current administration’s “contributions” to this country’s progress.

Though there have been many occasions where Obama has put on the Kennedy mantle, his keen interest appears to be the Lincoln one. In fact, he used the Lincoln bible for swearing in his oath of office at his two inaugurations. Here’s indisputable proof that greatness cannot be acquired by osmosis. He might have as well sworn in on a Marvel comic book because since he entered office he has deliberately and flagrantly circumvented the sacred oath to protect and preserve the Constitution.

A brief comparison of the two men and their respective visions for America however reveals how implausible it would be to interpose one for the other. This was glaringly apparent recently when Obama declined an invitation to speak at the Gettysburg ceremonies, explaining that he simply was too busy to attend. In other words, he had more important things to deal with (like repairing the DemolitionCare PR damage), then to pay homage to a man who in just a few eloquent and poetic words captured the essence of our Constitutional Republic and inspired the country to persevere. Lincoln managed to make it in the midst of conducting a enormous nationwide military campaign and running the government with just a very few aids, no massive security detail, no four speech writers and no teleprompter which had not been invented as yet.

Of course, in view of Obama’s record so far, it may very well be that Obama would have found the whole proceedings and the celebrated proclamation script distasteful. For example, the famous expression “of the people, for the people, and by the people” might be problematic for him and an affront to his preferred dictatorial “management” style. Then there is that “under God” phrase, something that would have been impossible for him to utter if called upon to recite the entire speech.

In fact, the video recitation of the Gettysburg Address that Obama submitted to Ken Burn’s 150th Civil War anniversary project patently omitted these critical words. This is in keeping with his pledge to remove all religious references from any governmental and even military programs or publications, except for maybe Islam. In the past, President Obama has also ignored the references to our rights being “endowed by our Creator” in the Declaration of Independence as well as well the leaving out “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Lincoln had a deep abiding trust and devotion to the Creator God who gave inspiration to the founding of this republic. In contrast, with Obama, we see only the Jeremiah Wright hateful brand of religion and the deliberate secularization of American institutions, including the military. We are treated to such gems of altered reality such as “America is no longer a Christian nation” and “The United States is one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.” In Obama’s socialist Marxist humanistic world, the people’s individual liberties are not unalienable Rights and gifts from God, but are bestowed on us by the government.

Another famous quotation by Abraham Lincoln spoken in 1861 that should trouble President Obama would be this one. “This country with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.”

And then there is that whole honesty thing. “Honest Obama” just doesn’t have the same ring as “Old Honest Abe”.

Nonetheless, there are at least two prominent reasons for Obama’s fixation on Lincoln. One is rather obvious. Abraham Lincoln is rightly credited with freeing the slaves and giving them status as citizens. Identifying with that period of history would certainly help this racially mixed president’s solidarity with the African American community though he himself has no slave heritage in this country. In addition, our glib president will be clever enough to correlate the emancipation effort of the 19th century with the granting of amnesty in this century to a whole new exploited class of modern day non-citizens.

The second reason that Obama would like to model his presidency after Lincoln is very subtle, rather disturbing and more evidence of his duplicity. When Lincoln was elected president, he inherited a country that was already deeply divided. The War Between the States fought over federal jurisdiction and states rights issues commenced all most immediately as soon as he took office. Lincoln exerted extraordinary authority to try to preserve the union which included arresting secessionists and sending armies to crush the insurrection. In doing so, he suspended certain civil rights and was accused of being a dictator. Because of the war, Lincoln centralized power in the federal government and made it illegal for states to secede. He even authorized conscription for the first time in America’s history which is the ultimate deprivation of civil rights and subjection of the individual to the state.

Obama may find these dire actions by a popular president to be appealing considering his own totalitarian bent. In Obama’s case, he inherited a country in a financial downturn, but instead of unifying the people as he promised to do, he has used that crisis to further divide the people according to political polarization, economical envy, racial preferences and moral commitments. Obama’s steady encroachment on virtually every freedom that Americans have always enjoyed and assumed as their heritage will inevitably lead to a revolt of some sort and one hopes that the response by this administration will not be as severe as the one Lincoln deemed necessary.

Some may recall the vice-presidential debate between Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle when Bentsen denounce the junior senator from Indiana saying.. “you’re no Jack Kennedy”. I would say the same to President Obama today, “you’re no Abe Lincoln” so don’t pretend to be so. The northern people of that time could trust President Abraham Lincoln to lead forcibly in a time of national crisis, but today we would not be to place that same degree of trust in Barrack Hussein Obama in a similar time of trouble. President Lincoln had the best interests of the people in mind and led the country out of civil war. Obama is driving us toward it.

Unfortunately, history was never able to record what kind of peacetime president Abraham Lincoln might have been. We know he intended to extend good will and reconciliation toward the southern states and citizen rights for the former slaves. In his last meeting with his Cabinet, he said, “There will be no recriminations against the South.” God’s call on Lincoln’s life was thwarted by a delusional John Wilkes Booth and Lincoln’s incredible genius was wiped away in a single violent moment. America’s path toward unity was drastically altered. Likewise, John Kennedy’s life and presidency was cut short by evil and America was radically changed for the worse politically and culturally by war and social revolution.

It has been recorded that Abraham Lincoln for most of his political life was an agnostic and skeptical of religion. It wasn’t until personal tragedy struck his home in the loss of his son, Willie, that he began to seriously contemplate the “hereafter” in hopes of being reunited with that lost child. Abraham Lincoln’s travel to the Gettysburg battlefield was a watershed moment in his life. In his own words he said to an Illinois clergyman, “But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ. Yes, I do love Jesus.” The “new birth of freedom” mentioned in his short speech paralleled the “new birth” of spirit that had taken place within him. Abraham Lincoln had reconciled himself to his station in life and asked only that God use him as an instrument to bring healing and unity to the land. This we can deduce from the sermon-like quality of his 2nd Inaugural Address.

The weight of the presidency can bring humility before God to any man wanting to fulfill the legacy of the nation and his own personal destiny. A popular pictorial book about Kennedy published just after the Warren Commission report was “The Torch is Passed”. It’s title conveyed the meaning that the spirit of liberty envisioned by the founding fathers would continue despite this calamity that had befallen the country. In the Gettysburg Address Lincoln observed, “Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.” We can only hope and pray that the current occupant of the White House can cease from his own devices, discover God purposes and find the greater satisfaction and peace in humbly serving the people in the manner in which they have been accustomed in this exceptional Constitutional Republic of our own. Only in this way can he avoid complete ruin to his presidency and his life.

Copyright Publius Forum 2001