Never Surrender the Vote

I can’t believe what was on the news tonight. This is the weirdest since Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge speculated about suspending the presidential election of 2004.

Senator John McCain on Wednesday injected another surprise into his presidential campaign, announcing that he would suspend campaigning on Thursday and seek a delay in this week’s planned debate so that he could return to Washington to try to forge a consensus on a financial bailout package.

I immediately thought of the only Republican I’d ever vote for, the President who trusted the American people to make the right choice, even in a Civil War. The words of President Abraham Lincoln after his re-election in 1864…

It has long been a grave question whether any government, not too strong for the liberties of its people, can be strong enough to maintain its own existence, in great emergencies.

On this point the present rebellion brought our republic to a severe test; and a presidential election occurring in regular course during the rebellion added not a little to the strain. If the loyal people, united, were put to the utmost of their strength by the rebellion, must they not fail, when divided, and partially paralyzed, by a political war among themselves?

But the election was a necessity.

We can not have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us. The strife of the election is but human-nature practically applied to the facts of the case. What has occurred in this case, must ever recur in other cases. Human-nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak, and as strong; as silly and as wise; as bad and good. Let us, therefore, study the incidents of this, as philosophy to learn wisdom from, and none of them wrongs to be avenged.

The Face of Lincoln, Viking Penguin 1979

So enough talk about putting the election on the back burner. More than ever we need to know who we will elect in November. Vote as if your life depends on it.

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5 responses

  1. Thank you for this powerful quote, Nancy.

  2. That quote is from a time when being a republican meant something.

    Replublican’s of today are the democrats of yesteryear.

    The Democrats of today are walking the fine line of socialism.

    For me I don’t know what I am anymore. I know , however, I am very disappointed.

    As I go through life and become more broke everyday. Socialism doesn’t sound that bad.

  3. Republicans today are the Democrats of yesteryear? That sounds like that advertising slogan ‘bottled beer in a can.’
    I’d like to see us ditch the electoral college and go to straight popular vote. then we would lose this red state blue state divide and each individual would count.

  4. Nancy-it would mean that about half a dozen states at most would determine the election.The federal/state dichotomy is not some archaic joke.It is part of the balance built into the Constitution.
    Remember,Senators were originally appointed by state legislatures.
    The electoral college is a speedbrake,just like the freedom to filibuster in the Senate.
    I don’t like the idea of making everything a simple question of “who has more hands raised”.It could backfire VERY badly on some people who think it’s so great.
    The US is a constitutional republic,not a democracy.We may adhere to many small “d” democratic principles,but that doesn’t change the nature of the beast.

  5. Jesse from Cranston

    I just caught parts of the Obama/McCain interviews shown on CBS and NBC, and the staggering differences between the candidates were only highlighted even more.

    Obama sat in front of a dark blue background and American flag. McCain’s background was the color of orange Tang with a silver arch that looked like something from the Ikea catalog.

    Where Obama kept the same, measured tone, stating that he planned to attend the debate and repeating that “a President has to be able to do more than one thing at a time,” McCain was a study in multiple personality disorder: Where on CBS he was animated (such as he can be), even smiling now and again, his delivery on NBC was wooden — he almost looked sedated, to be blunt.

    NBC also had a problem with their Obama clip, so while they re-spooled the tape (so to speak), they ran the pathetic Palin “Putin rearing his head” clip from the Katie Couric interview and let Chuck Todd rip her apart.

    From the look on his face, it was clearly dawning on McCain that he’ll be attending the debate, and that for all his bluster about “reforming Washington,” his stated willingness to leave his campaign at the mercy of a Congressional vote (“I’m hoping there will be a deal in time for me to attend”) was a transparent stunt.

    If Obama’s not ahead 57-43 by Monday, I’ll be shocked.

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