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 weekâ€™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 Iâ€™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.