President Barack Obama has given the nation a hand-written and collectivist update of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, just as his political prospects are threatened by the cascading collapse of his Obamacare program.
Lincoln “understood as well that our humble efforts, our individual ambitions, are ultimately not what matters, rather is it through the accumulated toil and sacrifice of ordinary men and women — those like the soldiers who consecrated that battlefield — that this country is built,” Obama said in the one-page, handwritten and emotional letter, released late Wednesday.
Lincoln, Obama wrote, knew that “blood drawn by the lash was an affront to our idealism, that blood drawn by the sword was in painful service to those same ideals… [and] that it falls to each generation, collectively, to share in that toil and sacrifice.”
These ideals, according to Obama, are now executed through “movements for civl rights and women’s rights and workers rights and gay rights.”
He did not mention property rights or gun rights, freedom of speech, local government, limited police powers and other evolved political ideas that are at the center of America’s small-government, self-governing political culture.
The letter is likely to spur criticism, in part, because Obama compares himself to Lincoln, who led the nation through a brutal civil war in which 620,000 Americans fought each other to their deaths in a population one-ninth of today’s 300 million.
The letter was released the same day a poll showed his approval has plunged to 37 percent, and two days after a morose and downbeat Obama pled his activist battalions to reinforce his crashing health sector takeover.
“My main message is I’m going to need your help, your energy, your faith, your ability to reach out to neighbors, kids and friends [and] co-workers,” he told listeners to the Nov. 18 Internet broadcast arranged by his grassroots group, Organizing for Action.
“You guys motivate me, you’re what keeps me going, so let’s go out there and get this done,” he summarized in his Internet speech.
Obama’s letter is titled “President Obama’s Handwritten Tribute to the Gettysburg Address.”
The letter’s introduction reads “One hundred fifty years after President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address, President Obama penned a handwritten tribute to President Lincoln’s historic remarks.”
The letter include some passages lifted from Lincoln’s short 1863 address, which he made at the dedication of a battlefield cemetery populated by the bones of dead Union soldiers.
In a bloody three-day battle in 1863, those union troops blocked the northward progress of regiments led by a charismatic leader who was seeking to obstruct the Republican Party’s foundational ideal of ending slavery. The battle was a tactical draw, but a strategic victory for the Union because it pushed the Confederate force on the defensive.
In recent days, Obama allies have begun worrying aloud that Obamacare may be the high-water mark of progressivism because it shows that government can’t manage complex problems as well as the personal choices of individual Americans in a free market.
While channeling Lincoln, Obama ends his letter by saying “Lincoln’s words give us confidence that whatever trials await us, this nation and the freedoms we cherish can and shall prevail.”
Lincoln ended his Gettysburg speech by saying “from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion… 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.”
Obama’s other passage about “blood drawn by the lash” matches phrases in Lincoln’s second inauguration address.
“If God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.'”
Obama’s letter, notably, exclude any mention of God.
That’s significant, partly because Obama has dropped customary references to God from expected speeches, for example, on Thanksgiving Day.
In 1863, Lincoln speech deliberately anchored Americans’ freedom on Christian beliefs, saying “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us… that his 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.”
Obama’s letter emphasizes collective, not individual, action. Lincoln believed, Obama said, that “it falls to each generation, collectively, to share in that toil and sacrifice.”
Also, Obama does not mention that Lincoln was the nation’s first Republican president, and that he worked hard to minimize partisan and communal differences between different Americans.