150 Years After Appomattox, the GOP Revises Their Views

By: Saturday April 11, 2015 10:00 am

The more things change, the more things change.

Consider the remarks of a certain Republican president from 1865, and how the Republican candidates for president in 2016 might rewrite those words today. They certainly wouldn’t sign on to them as Lincoln wrote them.


Giuliani’s Old Elementary Teacher is Not Happy With Him

By: Saturday February 21, 2015 10:00 am

If only I could get regular mail. Instead, I get anonymous phone calls.

This time it pointed me to an old schoolhouse near Kansas City. “Go behind the south wing, and you’ll see where there used to be a garden. Walk past it, and when you find an old compost pile, look for an envelope. I think you’ll be very interested in what’s inside.”

Curious, I pushed back a bit. “Lots of things might interest me. What’s in that envelope that’s so special that I should go looking for a pile of compost?”

The voice on the phone paused, then said “It’s a letter from one of my grandparents to Rudy Giuliani.”

“Why can’t your grandparent simply put it in the mail?” I asked.

“Two reasons. First, you need a mailing address, and we don’t have one. Second, though, and more important, is privacy. You see, my grandparent was Rudy Giuliani’s elementary school teacher. Go find that letter, please.”

I did . . .

A Trio of Brothers: Joseph, Mandela, and Lincoln

By: Saturday December 7, 2013 9:02 am

Back in 1987, I came to know Tshenuwani Simon Farisani, a South African Lutheran pastor who had been imprisoned and tortured by the apartheid regime in South Africa. Today, his words about what black leaders might say to whites in a post-apartheid South Africa might look like have come back to me. “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into slavery.” Nelson Mandela, like Abraham Lincoln, was firm both in his fight for justice and in his rejection of revenge.

Rest in peace, my brother. Rest in peace.

To Care for Him Who Shall Have Borne the Battle…

By: Saturday November 9, 2013 10:18 am

The world is filled with monuments that celebrate the generals who led the armies the men and women who fought in them. Some are local, devoted to the local folks who fought or the battle that took place right here, and others are national in scope, devoted to the entire effort of that particular war. There is one monument, however, that speaks most powerfully to the time after the battles are over, when the guns are silent and those who fought go home. On this Veterans Day weekend, it has a message we need to hear over the pageantry of a basketball game on an aircraft carrier and the noise of the flyovers at football games.

Does Anyone in DC Remember *All* of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural?

By: Saturday January 19, 2013 9:05 am

On the eve of President Obama’s second inaugural address, I am reminded of Abraham Lincoln’s, delivered on the eve of both the end of the Civil War and his own assassination. Lincoln packed more into four paragraphs than others can deliver in forty pages, and every president since him dreams of trying to get even close to his eloquence. The last paragraph of that speech gets enormous attention — as it should — but if one doesn’t see what Lincoln does in the first three, that last immortal paragraph is robbed of its full power, and the powerful vision of the future he paints remains just that: a vision of the future.

Thoughts on Abraham Lincoln and the First Thanksgiving

By: Thursday November 25, 2010 9:00 am

For me this year, I think I’ll skip the discussions of pilgrims and native Americans dining at Plymouth. I’m more caught up in the shift from Thanksgiving as a bunch of local harvest festivals to Thanksgiving as a national holiday — an act undertaken in the midst of the bloody battles of the Civil War. Indeed, on this day of thanksgiving in the midst of massive economic turmoil, I give thanks for those things which transcend haves/have nots or winners/losers, and bind us together in our shared humanity.

Patriotic Words

By: Sunday July 4, 2010 10:30 am

Patriotic words might lead in a good direction. Not always, but at least once.

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