happy birthday, abraham lincoln. i saw you this weekend. well, a version of you. it made me wonder what you would think if you knew that 204 years after your birth somebody would be wearing a caricature of your likeness down the chilly streets of DC. would you laugh? cringe?
it made me pine for all the greatness that this country once knew in the way of honorable leadership. i watched a speech by dr. benjamin carson. you would have lauded him for his veracity. and he has you to thank. you quite literally paved the road for him to move beyond the slavery of poverty and into a life of greatness as the director of pediatric neurosurgery at johns hopkins-right up the road from your old political stomping grounds.
you did it 200 years ago. being raised with nothing and growing into greatness. you lived without excuses, without condolences to a humble beginning that somehow did not keep you from becoming one of the greatest leaders who ever lived. before words like entitlement.
i wonder where we would be today if more of us stopped making excuses about our limitations-how they have robbed us-and instead simply decided to move forward, be helpful, argue respectfully, live honestly, speak unapologetically.
o, abe. mind if i call you that? we need more men who are not afraid to speak the truth, respectfully. hand wringing has incapacitated us. actually harmed us.
so many people are more concerned with whom they might offend then they are with speaking the truth. we have become a nation overwrought with political correctness and litigation. we're too busy making up rules that most of us have forgotten the first rule, the golden rule. common decency. compassion.
there are some who are belligerent with voicing their opinions. hateful. angry. disrespectful. the hand wringers and the hate mongers: neither are helpful.
today is your birthday. and living up the road from gettysburg, antietam and washington, DC makes me quite wistful for your kind of leadership, your kind of punctuated unparalleled lead-follow-or-get-out-of-the-way unapologetic stalwart gracious manner. you showed us that compassion and strength can not only co-exist, but they should co-exist.
so, here's to remembering you and so many others like you who are long gone, but not forgotten. especially by the likes of me who believes that honesty, compassion, strength aren't outdated, complicated or old fashioned notions.
p.s. i beg you to watch dr. carson's speech. his thoughts on education are astounding and unoriginal-a reminder of what once was the norm.