… Of the people, by the people, for the people …

lincoln_gettysburg_addressFour score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

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 are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom— and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

– President Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg, November 19, 1863

Why post the Gettysburg Address the day after the most historic election in history?

Is it a tacit reminder of the distance Blacks in America have come to have one of their own elected to the highest office in the land?

No.

Is it to highlight that we are a nation divided among so many lines they are hard to count, not the least of which is the divisiveness between Presidential candidate supporters created, hardened and honed over 21 months of intensive campaigning, and that we must now come together?

No.

Is it to remind people that the fact that this election happened at all is the sign of the greatness of this country. That after almost two years of word-smithing, mud flinging, and promising, one man has won and one has lost. The man who has lost deserves our admiration for stepping into the proverbial ring and risking it all for the chance to lead his fellow men.

And so does the man who won.

He risked no less, has no less of a desire to see his country improve, and deserves no less of the support of the people, all people, of this great country. For yes, divided we fail.

To dishonor the office of the President. To cast the country as doomed to hell because of a singular election. To wish misfortune on the man elected to lead. To proclaim that the failure of the country is a reasonable result because, after all, “I didn’t vote for HIM.”

To do any of these things, or countless others, is to dishonor the memory of those who fought at Gettysburg, the named places of battles past and the unnamed of future conflicts. These people “gave the last full measure of devotion” that the ideal of this country would survive. To petulantly wish ill to this country, and the office of its leader, because the election did not turn out as one would have liked is to dishonor those who have come before, fought, and died to ensure the very election itself continued to exist.

Is the Gettysburg Address posted to remind us that we are, if nothing else, a nation of honorable people capable of putting aside our differences and joining together for the good of all?

Maybe.

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