GETTYSBURG ADDRESS, 2011

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October 30, 2011 by David Gillaspie

by David Gillaspie

GETTYSBURG ADDRESS

From Craigslist:

Are you up-to-date on all world-wide political events? Are you a talented speech writer? I am looking for a part-time speech writer who has the ability to assist me. In order to be considered, please provide your resume and sample speeches you have written. Thank you!

Sample speeches?

Why, certainly. First some context, then my Gettysburg Address.

Senator Charles Sumner commented on the Gettysburg Address in his eulogy for President Lincoln. He said Lincoln had it wrong that “the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here.”

The Senator from Boston added, “The world noted at once what he said, and will never cease to remember it. The battle itself was less important than the speech.”

This from the man who stood up in the Senate in 1856 to attack slavery, and South Carolina, and got clubbed like a baby harp seal for his efforts.

Knocked down and knocked out, the attacker kept laying the wood until his heavy cane broke. That’s what Senator Sumner got for calling slave owners rapists and South Carolina so horrible it ought have its history stricken from the books.

It didn’t help that he mocked a Southern senator’s stroke impaired speech and movement. That senator’s nephew issued the beating instead of a duel because a duel only counted between social equals, like the Japanese custom of equal rank beheading equal ranking Americans in WWII.

Apparently a Harvard education with a finishing degree from Harvard Law School was beneath Preston Brooks’ social standing.

With that in mind, The Gettysburg Address, 2011.

I hope you like it.

President Abraham Lincoln said on Novemeber 19, 1863, “…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.”

Abe, if I may call you Abe, you gave your address after a Civil War battle. Devotion seemed the word of the day, which is understandable when you’re speaking about the war dead during the war on the ground they died for. That’s a tough place to recruit soldiers, but you did it.

You encourage us to take “increased devotion” from the “honored dead.” You said the dead of Gettysburg gave their “last full measure of devoti0n.”

Around here, we’re all about devotion, too. We’re also about getting it right, or at least better than it was.

Yes, our fathers crossed the ocean and created a new nation conceived in liberty and hoped that all men could understand the concept of equality.

We’re still hoping 235 years later.

Call it hope or prayer, we still think a nation built on the right foundation can endure. And should.

But, Abe, lets talk. The Civil War killed more Americans than WWII. Sure it was American on American instead of Germans or Japanese or Italians, but isn’t the number a little high? It sounds like ethnic cleansing.

Just because you have the population and the production strength on your side doesn’t mean you dive head first into a war against those with superior tactics. Do that and you end up with lots of dead, maybe too much.

Until you explain freedom measured by blood isn’t the same as freedom measured by respect and honor, we’ll keep chasing an interpretation of equality. If the Union and the Confederate soldiers died so that America “might live”, they still bled out.

Since your day, Abe, America buys shares of honor and respect with money instead of blood, yet the bleeding continues.

As long as American leaders like Senator Charles Sumner confuse oratory for war dead, and world leaders welcome America into the All-World Club after forcing a surrender from ‘super power’ Spain in 1898, equality will remain out of reach, an ideal to work toward instead of a reality to live in.

You’d find a familiar America today, Abe, young people willing to work for equality. You’d find others willing to bend the meaning of equality for more money.

The first group comes under many names, but one most often missing is ‘labor force.’ The American labor force lives in Asia, making shirts and electronics cheap enough for out of work Americans to afford.

It’s a trade-off.

The second group are the connected contributors, the movers and shakers your campaign managers would sell nights in the Lincoln Bedroom to know.  These are the men who buy honor and respect for America instead of asking you for blood.

These men drank from the trickle down spigot and spit out foreign factories teaming with cheap labor. For their effort they suffer the slings and arrows of the unemployed, the under-employed, and the unemployable. They are targets for Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Portland, Occupy New Orleans, Occupy San Francisco.

Your time in office saved America, Abe, but you’re not done. Your address is one of the greatest in history, but it’s not enough. Until America, and all of America, hears you, from the debt-ridden student, to the daycare-ridden single mom, to the middle-aged reject too ashamed to admit failure, you’re not done.

Lift up our nation, Mr. President. Make your office shine the light of equality and you will be remembered for restoring the honor and respect America has earned since Lincoln.

(Johnny Cash read along.)

“Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth, upon 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 it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. 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 hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.

It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, 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.”

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