Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence of thought

February 12, 2004

I’ve done some reading today in Carl Sandburg’s book about Lincoln—what an incredibly objective individual he was. He was completely able to put his personal beliefs aside to fulfill his duty to the nation. “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union and is not either to save or to destroy slavery.” This statement took incredible impartiality and could not have been easy in light of what I believe were his personal objections to slavery—at least as this book portrays him. It is a new thought for me that personal beliefs aren’t necessarily the most paramount consideration. The idea of duty before conviction is very interesting—and maybe only necessary for those who hold elected office or who represent more than just themselves? It seems to me that Lincoln felt an obligation to uphold democracy—to represent even the needs of his adversaries in his final decisions. It’s fascinating. I don’t think I could walk the line he had to walk between the extremes. He saved the Union AND abolished slavery! And do our modern politicians take so much care in their decisions?

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