Monday, November 5, 2012

The Last Best Hope of Earth

I want to add my voice to that of many others who believe we are at a crucial crossroads in the history of this country, and of the world at large.  Tomorrow, November 6, 2012, the American electorate goes to the polls to choose the next president of the United States of America.

I have been an assiduous student of American history since I was very young.  I was quite likely, as a 9-year-old, the youngest member of the World War II Book Club, and consequently I was the target of some good-natured ribbing by my friends and family.  Even so, I spent a significant portion of my childhood summer vacations reading history books, with a specific focus on American history.

In my adult life, although I have also collected and read a lot of classic literature, my reading and my personal library continues to be very much dominated by works on American history, in particular the period preceding and during the Civil War.  I have been a very serious student of the life and presidency of Abraham Lincoln.  In addition to the magnificent literary corpus of Abraham Lincoln, which I have read it its entirety, I have read the transcripts of the Lincoln/Douglas debates at least a half-dozen times.  I find them absolutely compelling.  In my opinion, we have not had such competent candidates for public office since then.  Along with the majority of scholars, I believe Abraham Lincoln is the greatest president in our history.

It is in this context that I have formed my judgment that the choice we now face is the most significant since the watershed election of 1860.  I believe many in the country share my sense of the importance of this upcoming election, and that this sense of its importance will lead to the largest turnout of the electorate in my lifetime.

I believe that if Barack Obama is granted four more years in office, the United States will never recover from the consequences.  If he is granted a second term unencumbered by the moderating concerns of reelection, and flush with the rather justifiable belief that he has been given a mandate for his effectively socialist agenda, it will result in both the destruction of our economy as well as our capacity to maintain the worldwide Pax Americana that has prevailed since the end of World War II.  Notwithstanding the occasional blunders of American leadership since 1945, the fact remains that the world has experienced an unprecedented period of global peace and prosperity as a direct result of that leadership.  Should the dominant position and leadership capacity of the United States continue to decline in the next four years as it has in the past four, I am personally convinced that the inevitable consequence will be the rupture of the tenuous threads that have held together the fabric of relative world peace that has characterized the era of the American superpower. 

Abraham Lincoln, in his December 1862 report to Congress, wrote:

"The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion.

… We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth."

Since that time, the majority of Americans has consistently manifest a willingness to shoulder the mantle that Lincoln presciently recognized as our national calling.  It is my hope and prayer that this generation of Americans will do likewise.


  1. I, a Romney supporter, disagree with your conclusions about President Obama. Having read a bit of Lincoln's life myself, we know that many of his contemporaries felt he was an unmitigated disaster. For as disappointed as I am, this is America. We'll be okay.

    1. At the end of Lincoln's first term in office, there was virtually no one in the United States who would have characterized him as "an unmitigated disaster." Quite to the contrary.

      As for my conclusions about Obama, almost half of all Americans currently regard him as an "unmitigated disaster." I am convinced that, given four more years to add to his legacy, he will rise to the level of "utter catastrophe."

      Finally, I am not at all confident that "We'll be okay." All I can say is that I'm glad I live where I do. Here in Deseret, we will be "okay," no matter what happens in the rest of the country. I just hope we can accommodate the refugees as rapidly as they appear ...