Thursday, February 12, 2009

Where Have You Gone Abraham Lincoln?

Abraham Lincoln
Originally uploaded by onlinewoman

We're hearing quite a bit about Abraham Lincoln these days. It is his birthday today and if he were alive today he'd be 200 years old. John Wilkes Booth ruined that for us.

I'm not a fan of bandwagons, so I'll resist the urge to review, revise, and rewrite his legacy and history itself here. If you're looking for that, go to your favorite news site today, or just Google Obama Lincoln. There's about 27,000,000 results to sift through. Enjoy.

This may offend some people out there, but it is my contention that Lincoln's legacy proves to us one very important thing. Great leaders and thinkers are no longer elected to public office in our society. It's a sad state we find ourselves in. Leonard Klaatu says this about the issue:

My how politicians have changed! In the early years of our country - some of society’s best minds were our country’s leaders. No more. And we’re not better for it.

Some observations:
  • Government officials no longer lead in the arena of ideas. They react to polls. Those who are leading in the arena of ideas can be found running successful corporations, writing books, and blogging (yes, blogging, but I don't fit in that list).
  • Today's crop of politicians rarely come up with bills that produce real, positive change. They turn to focus groups, more polls, and lobbyists for guidance on bills. If you need proof, take a long, hard look at the current stimulus package being pushed through Congress to the President's desk. Those who have real proposals for real change are rarely listened to because they can't be heard over the lobbyists shouts for more kickbacks.
  • Government officials are always behind. Whether it's White House 1.0 or some bureaucracy standing in the way of progress, politicians today seem to have a very difficult time adjusting to changes in society.
I could go on more, but I think you get the point. The greatest minds are not the politicians of today and I think Leonard was right. We're not better for it.

"He can compress the most words into the smallest ideas better than any man I ever met." ~ Abraham Lincoln


Anonymous said...

Those who are leading in the arena of ideas can be found running successful corporations, writing books, and blogging (yes, blogging, but I don't fit in that list).

No truer words could be spoken by the humble AWeave.

Anonymous said...

Can't help but wonder if the people back then thought the same thing about THEIR government leaders. Carnegie, Rockefeller.. Maybe they had better corporate leaders too =p maybe everyone was better, lookin back

Danny Brown said...

The true thought leaders are the ones who don't care about what others say. You will always have critics and detractors, but if you sell out your beliefs for popularity, you're not a leader.

You're not even a follower.

Andrew Weaver said...

You're absolutely right, Danny. In some ways, most of the politicians today do just that. Their vote is far too often for sale.

When I see someone (no matter their if their beliefs are contrary to mine) who sticks to their principles no matter what others say, I always have more respect for that person.