There should be no surprise that the greatest of all our Presidents’ annual messages was delivered by Abraham Lincoln… The daunting task of explaining his decision to emancipate the slaves, a drastic measure that drew the ire of conservatives and skepticism from moderates.
Lincoln was able to explain how emancipation would not only help save the Union… but was the only way to keep our republic on the right side of history.
December 1, 1862-
“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 can not 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 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 State of the Union address is a constitutional requirement… Article 1; Section 3- He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient…
The speech varies from executive monotony to… rousing patriotic oratory. Lincoln declared the Civil War had to be won to preserve the “last, best hope of earth” and Franklin Roosevelt reminded the free world of its “Four Freedoms.”
We cannot escape history…
Today, the speech is more spectacle than requisite… the purpose is more political than constitutional. Bill Clinton is the modern record holder, averaging over 1 hour and 14 minutes per speech. All but one of Barack Obama’s have been over an hour. (Washington’s first message is acknowledged as the shortest, just over 1,000 words.) Thomas Jefferson had all eight of his hand delivered to Congress; Woodrow Wilson was the next President to address Congress. The last President not to give a speech was Jimmy Carter in January of 1981.
No dozing allowed….somebody wake up Biden !
Filed under Ephemera, News
Trump continues to vow an overhaul of America’s libel laws… in an obvious effort to silence those who disagree with him. His distrust of the current standards indicate a deeply flawed understanding of true free speech. Combine this with his disdain for a free press, and dangers not seen since the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 begin to emerge.
I can’t define sedition, but I know it when I hear it…
Jefferson warned his people of these dangers… “that if the acts before specified should stand, these conclusions would flow from them; that the general government may place any act they think proper on the list of crimes and punish it themselves whether enumerated or not enumerated by the constitution as cognizable by them: that they may transfer its cognizance to the President, or any other person, who may himself be the accuser, counsel, judge and jury, whose suspicions may be the evidence, his order the sentence, his officer the executioner, and his breast the sole record of the transaction…”
Trump and his corrupt administration would determine what speech is libelous… Truth would become subjective rhetoric rather than objective fact. Discourse would be stifled and the country force fed Trump’s propaganda.
Jefferson wanted more for his people and expected more of his government…. “…and will furnish new calumnies against republican government, and new pretexts for those who wish it to be believed that man cannot be governed but by a rod of iron: that it would be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fears for the safety of our rights: that confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism”
To stop destroying our liberty
There is nothing particularly dangerous in Donald Trump’s hatred of the media… Presidents have always disliked and distrusted hostile press coverage. What separates Trump’s rhetoric from his predecessors is his insistence that the free press is a threat to the American people.
No, Mr. President, the press is not an enemy of the people… nor should they be in the business of supporting your agenda(whatever that may be.) You are free to criticize the press at your convenience, but you can never limit it in the name of the People.
Jefferson had a contentious relationship with poor press coverage… and experienced plenty of “fake news” during his presidency. Despite his frustration, Jefferson never doubted the necessity of a free press; he trusted that the American people would be able to sort through the vitriol and nonsense to find the truth.
“And were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.”
Every generation feels an impact on the historic…
- We stop destroying history and refocus our energy on studying it
- Americans start listening to true Civil War historians like James McPherson, Noah Trudeau, Wayne Motts, and Stephen Sears
- That historical hacks like Don Lemon, Jamelle Bouie, Ilya Somin, Yoni Applebaum, and everyone at MSNBC stop talking about historical revisionism
- Seeing rational minds put an end to the scourge of American iconoclasm
- American society rediscovers the indispensable examples set by George Washington
- Americans accept the fact that if Jefferson is right, America is right
- Real efforts are made to protect historical homes, sites, and monuments
- No “Grant!” the musical
- “Hamilton!” fans actually read a few of the Federalist Papers
- Donald Trump donates all of his paychecks to battlefield preservation (the first one was greatly appreciated)
- The Confederate flag remains legal
- Ne0-Nazis and white supremacists fade to obscurity
- Living history continues to educate the public
- The Eisenhower Memorial is finished on the National Mall
- Steven Spielberg makes an authentic Civil War film as a companion to “Lincoln”
- PBS brings back “Mercy Street”
- The History Channel schedules more programs about history
- Customers of Ancestry.com realize that they are actually Americans first…
- We all stop learning history through memes
Just like ISIS
It already was, Donnie
Filed under Ephemera, News
The current Presidential administration continues an aimless… and bewildering foreign policy- it should come as no surprise considering the diluted message the United States has sent the world following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The fact that three successive Presidents have failed to show a unified American position in the world is a clear indication of a failure to understand our history.
The Final Founder
The foundation of American foreign policy was set in 1823… and crafted by John Quincy Adams and James Monroe. Tucked away in his annual message to Congress was a bold and profound statement about the global interest of the United States- supporting freedom. Too many politicians and “analysts” dismiss ideology as unrealistic in the geopolitical sphere. This “nuanced” approach has enfeebled our position in the world- we have lost our way.
The Monroe Doctrine is not just about keeping Europeans out of North America… the ideological framework of the proposal is too often overlooked-
“that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers. . . But with the Governments who have declared their independence and maintain it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States. “
The current administration continues to assail the press and critics utilizing their free speech rights… The President’s minions disingenuously claim that he is merely “fighting back.”
Only those who approve
Trump does not believe in civil discourse…. If he does not agree with something, or it challenges his actions, he feels it is illegitimate and should not exist. This is tyranny.
George Washington warned his fellow citizens about the dangers of losing free speech…
“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”