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Abraham Lincoln and the 2016 ‘raucous’ presidential election

Friday, April 01, 2016

As you read this, the cherry tree blossoms are getting ready to hit their peak bloom around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.

The AUSA national headquarters is located across the Potomac River in Arlington, Va., so on my frequent trips to the Capitol Hill I have the privilege to see the many sights and monuments that make the capital of our United States the special place that it is.

To me they never get old, and each has its own significance.

I share this because in any presidential election year, and especially in this particularly raucous and uncivil election year, it is easy to become cynical.

As the candidates of both parties debate, argue, insult, insinuate and tear each other down, one may begin to question the health of our democracy.

The media thrives on controversy, and the daily headlines reflect the divisions among the citizens of our great nation.

However, as I travel to Washington and turn onto Independence Ave., I pass the Lincoln Memorial.

Here, one of the greatest Americans is honored.

Lincoln led our country when it was even more divided than today, and persevered it through some of our country’s darkest hours.

Mr. Lincoln’s statue thoughtfully gazes over the Reflecting Pool, toward the World War II memorial.

Less than a century after Lincoln, the "Greatest Generation" rose to defend freedom, America and our allies from the tyranny of Nazi fascism.

The many who made the ultimate sacrifice are remembered on a wall of stars.

There are 4,048 gold stars, each commemorating 100 American military deaths.

Passing by these monuments on my way to Capitol Hill, I am humbled by the greatness of the American spirit as it has overcome past challenges of existential consequence.

Today’s issues seem comparatively small.

We are a rich and fortunate country. We have a system of government that has survived many tests in the 239 years since we declared independence.

Our military is the best in the world, able to project power to any corner of the globe to protect the powerless or to defend liberty.

America will get through this election year, with a peaceful transfer of power, and we will continue to be a shining city on a hill – an example for other countries to emulate.

We cannot give in to cynicism, nor allow the loudest voices to drown out the more reasoned.

See you on the high ground.

 

View from the Hill

John Gifford

Director

Government Affairs