Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gettysburg (redux)

Maybe we should exorcise the words ‘wrong’ and ‘right’ from our dictionaries. When pundits say that Obama, Kaddafi, Ahmadinejad, Mugabe, Chavez (or whoever) are on the ‘wrong’ side of history while Scott Walker, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck proclaim themselves to be on the ‘right’ side, it betrays a bias. There are only sides. ‘Wrong’ or ‘right’ are relative to the side one happens to be on. Let us then just say, “There is their side and there is our side.”

We have now established that there are indeed sides. Provided we feel strongly enough to identify our preference, we must then support our side with all we’ve got.

We’re in the midst of a global battle we must win. We can no longer be bystanders because the outcome of this battle will determine our future and the future of our children. It has become pointless to argue about ‘wrong’ and ‘right’. Each side thinks it’s right and that the others are ‘wrong’.

Similarly, ‘left’ and ‘right’ on the political scale has become solely diversion and used by both sides to confuse and obfuscate. You either believe that America has been ‘wrong’ throughout its history or you don’t. You either want to see it torn down, destroyed, to let the phoenix rise from its ashes; or you want to preserve what has already been built.

There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer. All that remains for us is to fight impeccably for whichever side we choose.

The winner of this battle will have the right to carry the banner of America. It will be either a ‘new and improved’ America or it will be America as it once was.

After the war has been settled, someone from the winning side will echo some version of President Abraham Lincoln’s stirring ‘Gettysburg Address’ in addressing the nation. It may not be at a cemetery, for (I should hope) we no longer fight our internal wars with guns and bullets. But we will have fought nevertheless. And the spoils will have gone to the victor.
On the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the ’Soldiers’ National Cemetery’ in Gettysburg, PA, four and a half months after the Union armies defeated those of the Confederacy at Gettysburg, President Lincoln delivered what has come to be known as ‘The Gettysburg Address‘:

“Four 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 battle-field 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 can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not 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.”

Pray to God it will be someone from our side.

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