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Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Lincoln offers guide for today's divide

By By the Advocate Editorial Board
Nov. 20, 2013 at 5:20 a.m.


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 battlefield 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.

With so much disdain for the current political antics and ethics, a majority of Americans are showing their disapproval for elected officials in the lowest government satisfaction rating since Gallup started polling the American people in 1971. Only 18 percent of people are satisfied with our nation's governance. We are hitting a turning point in which something must change.

It is relevant that 150 years ago this week, our nation was facing another significant turning point. The Battle of Gettysburg showed the people that there was hope and that fighting for what is right and decent will always triumph in the end.

Lincoln's address that fateful day - on one of the bloodiest battlefields ever seen by this nation - has become a symbol for what this country should strive for, what we fought so hard to achieve. We must work together to repair this nation, to set aside our individual differences and work toward rebuilding a government torn apart by party lines, personal egos and rhetoric.

Lincoln, in his modesty, may have thought "the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here," but in reality, he created a legacy that serves as a guiding light so we may continuously strive toward "the great task remaining before us." It reminds us that we are never finished protecting the noble truths upon which this country was built. We, the people of this nation, must continue to mindfully guide the leaders of our country to stand above self and prevent this most powerful form of government from perishing from the earth.

We encourage everyone, from 4 to 104, to read the short 272 words of the Gettysburg address on this significant anniversary and take note that it is our responsibility to take increased devotion to those basic values of humanity: humility, honesty and decency.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.

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