Night Two Of Republican National Convention 2020: Featuring Abraham Lincoln

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Each night of the Republican National Convention I will feature a Republican from the pages of history who acted in exactly the reverse of Donald Trump.   Tonight Abraham Lincoln is the man I showcase and the topic is leadership and empathy.  (Monday night I focused on the need for character, and shone a light on Gerald Ford.) Lincoln’s actions during the Civil War ran in sharp contrast to how Donald Trump has abdicated responsibility during the COVID-19 pandemic.  What Trump calls ‘his war’.

Even the most jaded high school history student knows the first year of the Civil War was beset by failures from the Union Army to marshall their military might and demonstrate the capacity to engage the Confederates.  Bull Run is the most prominent battle in 1961 and it was not a success for Lincoln.

The generals of the North were not always known for aggressive behavior.  This led Lincoln to undertake a responsibility within the White House in waging the war.  He often changed generals and even championed a more forward-leaning engagement with the South in 1962.   But how he came to the point where he felt comfortable within his own skin to use his office in such a manner is due to one factor that speaks volumes about Lincoln.

Lincoln had limited military experience from his time with the Black Hawk War.  Earlier this year readers might recall my recommendation of  A Self-Made Man by Sidney Blumenthal where that period of Lincoln’s life is researched and written about in detail.  So to fill in the empty places of his education Lincon got his hands on each and every military text he could find.  He then read and studied them.  He then consulted with his military advisors and learned from experts.

All of that is diametrically opposite of how Trump has handled the pandemic, which as of this writing, has killed almost 178,000 Americans.  By not immersing himself in the science and data, or heeding the advice of professionals in this nation we have all paid a price. While having 4% of the world’s population we have 25% of the world’s COVID-19 cases.

What we have witnessed is not only Trump’s desire to take no responsibility in dealing competently with the virus but also to not show any empathy with a staggering loss of life among the citizenry.

Lincoln, on the other hand, wore empathy on his sleeve.  There could be a book on nothing other than Lincoln’s ability to put himself in the place of another, and the result would be a tome too heavy to lug around.  If you want to be moved emotionally read the accounts of mothers who met with Lincoln and urged that their sons not be sent to war and how it pained him so much.  Or read the words of his personal assistant, John Hay, regarding how Abe lingered long and hard over letters about those sentenced to die.

What we lack today in the White House is a reader, a thinker, or any semblance of empathy.  The end result, as we have witnessed, is a lack of leadership.

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Vile, Unconscionable Shooting In Kenosha

What took place in Kenosha Sunday afternoon is thy most vile, outlandish, offensive, and unconscionable behavior that I have yet seen coming from police officers.  And we have seen our share!

For those new to this planet in the past 36 hours, this matter deals with police shooting Jacob Blake, who had been trying to break up an argument between two women.  He then walks back toward his silver SUV, an officer trailing behind.  As three of Blake’s sons looked on from inside the vehicle, the officer fired seven times toward Blake’s back at close range.

It is simply the vilest and most disheartening and inhumane acts I have seen from police officers.  And over recent years, there has been much to see. 

So let me shuck the cob down to the niblets.

While it is important to listen to and obey the orders of police there is also a time when officers need to employ logic and reduce the level of the atmosphere themselves.  If there was any threat of him driving away, with many officers on the scene, it would have been easy to use a police car to physically stop any movement.  Blake was going away from the officers, and that is even proved as one officer pulls on the outer shirt Blake is wearing.

Then came seven bullets!

One…

Two…

Three…

Four…

Five…

Six…

Seven!

As Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes said the police shooting of a Black man by Kenosha officers “wasn’t an accident”.

“This wasn’t bad police work. This felt like some sort of vendetta taken out on a member of our community.”

Barnes is correct, as this looked like something a rigged police system in some third-rate country would use on some political dissidents.  It was a ghastly crime that these officers will need to be charged with and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

There have been too many–far too many–Black men shot by police officers and in the most absurd and shockingly disgusting ways.  Seven bullets!  In the back!

I have had more than enough of this, as has most of my fellow citizens.   And this comes from one who supports my local PD.  No one can condone this shooting in Kenosha!  Or should stay silent.  Enough is enough!

Seven shots fired in the back!