Posted by: Dr Churchill | January 25, 2021

Inauguration simply means change…

If a person could personify ideas, then perhaps, we could say that Moses, Socrates and even Jesus, are representing the same personal beliefs, sharing aspects of the same humane ideas and affecting people similarly in a great way as aspirational and transformational leaders…

And somewhere there we could also tack in that August grouping of high personages — the 16th president of these United States, Abraham Lincoln the Great Emancipator, too…

I say that, because when we hear the words of Abraham Lincoln admonishing us to “Return to the fountain whose waters spring close by the blood of the revolution” we have to place the Man next to those “Great Spirits” springing eternal truths that are always self evident.

Abraham continues: “Think nothing of me — take no thought for the political fate of any man whomsoever — but come back to the truths that are in the Declaration of Independence.”

Still he says: “You may do anything with me you choose — if you will but heed these sacred principles.”

He was standing before a small crowd of people on a stump, in the village commons of Lewiston, Ill., in the summer of 1858 — and that is when Abraham Lincoln spoke thus, where he begged his listeners to act, and not to just listen…

Five whole years before Lincoln inspired the American public with the short yet memorable phrases of the legendary Gettysburg Address — candidate Abraham Lincoln was already concerned, that the eerily familiar and yet still radical message of the Declaration of Independence of 1776, had been lost on the people of his generation.

Because he saw that his people had come to associate the Revolution only with the Fourth of July festooning, carousing, the fireworks, the picnics and the parades leading flag-wavers onto the streets…

Indeed, Lincoln believed the very soul of American democracy had been lost for a time of division hate and the inexorable march towards the Civil War.

And yet he hoped that the “glue” to hold the nation together, could be found in the Declaration of Independence — not just because it was the penultimate founding document — but because it reached far beyond the present-day biases and flaws of the men who wrote it, as it led to something far greater than themselves, such as this becoming a transcendental statement of WHAT, WHICH, and WHO, we ought to be.

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Still three years after becoming president and facing “a great civil war, testing whether that nation” created by the Declaration of Independence “or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure,” Lincoln wanted the crowd to understand the wisdom, truth and sheer goodness contained in the document of 1776.

“If you have been inclined to believe that all men are not created equal in those inalienable rights enumerated in our charter of liberty,” Lincoln told the Lewiston crowd, “let me entreat you to come back.”

As a practical matter, the Declaration of Independence is mostly a prosecutor’s indictment of King George III and Great Britain’s misgovernment of its 13 American colonies, a list of grievances and a proclamation of rebellion.

“When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.”

But its real value comes in establishing a basis for political rule — self-evident truths, unalienable rights, and equality — manifested in the sovereignty of the people.

Self-evident truths are unquestionable and beyond debate. Unalienable rights are those that can’t be taken from us or even surrendered by us. Equality, although not yet a reality in the colonies, was the foundation and the aspiration of what the country was meant to be.

That was the genius that Lincoln saw in those words and that inspired him to hold the country together through the bloodiest war in American history.

Lincoln saw the Declaration not just as a statement in the moment of 1776 but as a promise from the Founders for all the following generations, “a beacon to guide their children and their children’s children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages.”

Another hundred years after Lincoln, one of those children, Martin Luther King Jr., would lead a march on Washington with the very same view of the Declaration’s promise.

“In a sense, we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check” is what Dr King said in his speech at the Lincoln Memorial as he addressed the crowd at the the “March in Washington” D.C., where he gave his “I Have a Dream” speech on Aug. 28, 1963.

And he continued by reminding us that “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Yours,

Dr Churchill

PS:

We hold these truths to be self-evident…

“When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

That was the message that Lincoln feared was being lost in 1858.

It is a creed that must be rekindled each year.

“Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants,” Lincoln said in Lewiston, “and so they established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began — so that truth, and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built.”

That is the meaning, the promise and the hope stemming from each and every New Inauguration of a New President fixing to lead as the Chief Executive of these United States of America, and we Thank God for this change of leadership now and forever…


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: