The winds of politics turned into a tornado in the last few months.
Charges of a rigged election by a President who lost… uproar in a country divided… an attack on the U.S. Capitol that resulted in a riot… a second impeachment of a President…. a trial, an acquittal…. and a future uncertain…
Will we continue to wallow in distrust? Or is there another path?
As we look back in our country’s history…it is noteworthy that in another time of division President Abraham Lincoln found a path, a positive path that led to healing and unity. Lincoln suffered painfully while trying to save the Union in the great Civil War. He did not celebrate the death of Southern soldiers at the hands of Union forces.
Instead, he grieved at every loss, each fallen soldier pained him no matter the color of the uniform. Lincoln showed an enormous respect for the Confederacy, realizing its leaders were defending their homeland because they thought it was the right thing to do. Yes, he sought victory but only because each victory hastened the end of the war.
When it was over, Lincoln received all kinds of advice from Northern lawmakers who wanted to punish the South. But, the great President did not take their counsel. Instead, he adopted a policy of compassion. His critics protested that the winners should destroy his enemies, not befriend them. But, Lincoln replied:
“Am I not destroying my enemies when I make them my friends?”
In another controversial step, President Lincoln appointed former political opponents to offices in his administration. Critics thought that foolhardy. But, the President knew that by selecting men who disagreed with him his ideas would be tested and those challenges would help him make wiser and better decisions.
And, there was something else. Lincoln realized that by drawing an enemy into his fold he would have a better chance of turning that person into an ally because the President showed him respect and honor.
As our leaders move forward they may wish to look back at the past and perhaps make the Lincoln model their own. Honor and respect for one another, compassion and understanding for the views and beliefs of others, loyalty to the people of our country.
What a celebration of unity that could be as we move forward, “With Malice toward None… With Charity for all.”