On Lincoln’s birthday, it’s a good time to remember the founding of the Republican Party. We were founded on a moral issue. We were founded on the principle that no man should ever be considered the property of another. Ronald Reagan, who’s birthday we also celebrated recently, saw the correlation between slavery and abortion. As he wrote in Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation:
Despite the formidable obstacles before us, we must not lose heart. This is not the first time our country has been divided by a Supreme Court decision that denied the value of certain human lives. The Dred
Scott decision of 1857 was not overturned in a day, or a year, or even a decade. At first, only a minority of Americans recognized and deplored the moral crisis brought about by denying the full humanity of our black brothers and sisters; but that minority persisted in their vision and finally prevailed. They did it by appealing to the hearts and minds of their countrymen, to the truth of human dignity under God. From their example, we know that respect for the sacred value of human life is too deeply engrained in the hearts of our people to remain forever suppressed. But the great majority of the American people have not yet made their voices heard, and we cannot expect them to —any more than the public voice arose against slavery — until the
issue is clearly framed and presented.
We now remember the words of President Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address:
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 that field as a final resting place
for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.
It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate. . .we cannot consecrate. . .
we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead,
who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power
to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember,
what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished
work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining
before us. . .that from these honored dead we take increased devotion
to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. . .
that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. . .
that 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.
In honor of President Lincoln, let’s renew our “dedication to the promise that all men are created equal.” Let’s dedicate ourselves with “increased devotion” to the “unfinished work”.
Let’s rediscover our roots as Republicans. We are not merely about lower taxes. If we are, we deserve every bit of criticism for being greedy pigs, out to help “the rich get richer”. Our party doesn’t exist “to win elections” either. Rather, we are about what is right, and we exist to do what’s right. Let’s choose our leaders, candidates and issues accordingly.
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