Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lincoln, the word-wizard war leader

One of the principle jobs of any war leader is to marshal the resources of the nation behind the war effort. Few have performed this task with the consummate skill of this wizard with words.

The following quote, even 150-odd years later, is still white-hot, still utterly compelling. Here is Lincoln in his message to Congress in December of 1862, the equivalent of The State of the Union speech of another century; drink what he says, utterly pliant to the subtle ministrations of this wizard with words:

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.

“Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We -- even we here -- hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free -- honorable alike in what we give, and in what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just - a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.”

The Master has spoken!

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