Friday, November 21, 2008

Lincoln/Obama - The Man vs.The Icon

There is essay in a recent "Times" magazine by our nation's President-Elect, Barack Obama. It profoundly speaks to our nation's leadership during very difficult times. Reacting to the classic - "iconic" portrait of our 16th President, "The Great Emancipator", Abraham Lincoln, Mr Obama reminds us all of challenges before us, as a Nation, a Culture and a People in these next few years. We have chosen him by a "close" election similarly to Abe.
Having been a teacher of American History most of my career, I would've loved making "rubrics" for study and writing about these "fascinating times, challenging moral issues and leadership principles (also principals)". Forget "testing" for awhile and just "seize the moment" historically to teach Character and Self Discipline. We, now and then, need(ed) inspiration and example. Yes, we can learn from history and it can repeat itself. We, as a Nation and as Individuals, can rise to all these that our "Nation will not perish from this Earth". We still have many "nay-sayers" and "glass-half -empty-ers" that are going to continue to "snipe and criticize" those we have chosen and the people and policies that are putting in place in the next two + months. This kind of negativism and lack of faith is what has gotten us where we are in the world, economically and morally. (among other emergencies) Now it is of utmost importance to us all to support our leaders as they try to save our "way of life" and "our culture" Yes, we are in a cultural war and it is for keeps.
The deep lines etched in Abe's face should not make us think of his "imperfections" and "self doubts" during such stressful times in our Nation but of his "determination" and "moral courage" not to "pass on" the current problems to future generations. Of course, "Honest Abe" continues to inspire us all to seek the truth in all our worldly and personal "dealings". That has tragically been missing of late in our leadership. My sister reminded me of a quote (paraphrase) from Ghandi in reference to "the Christian World", "I admire your leader, Christ, and what he taught, but I question many of His followers (religious leaders) and what they have done (are doing)". i.e. "torture", Guantanamo. etc. We can't just point the finger at other cultures (Islamic, Muslim) for bad examples of "Man's inhumanity to man". We have to strive to get our own "house in order".
As a man, a husband, a father, a teacher of children, a student of "mankind" (I'm really getting profound here today) I have my challenges and self-doubts. Circumstances shouldn't always dictate my behavior and reactions and I continue to try to be and do my best from what I've been taught and what I have taught to my kids and those in my classrooms (our nation's future). I love all my family and will continue to support them in whatever way(s) I can as long as I am able. This is what I "get" from our leaders, past and present. RRR

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