Abraham Lincoln: A Warning and A Solution
Updated: Nov 11, 2019
Ann: Mr. President, Anita said you wanted to talk to me.
Abraham Lincoln: Yes, I do. I gather you’re mighty surprised to get a call from someone like me and probably thought I had said everything I had to say and then some a long time ago. But when I get to watching all the hate and fury going on today, it feel I have to come back and try to help.
There are no winners in war, Miss Ann. And words of war frequently end up as wars of worlds, mine against yours, Tom’s family against Mary’s, my color against yours, and so on. You can’t let that happen again. What you have going in the country right now could change in a flash into a situation that cannot be controlled, where people feel they have “no choice,” where brother turns against brother because each thinks he knows the right and the wrong of it and has to destroy the other be he kin or not.
What is needed is a little understanding and common ground because we are all kin. Lord, don’t you all know we all put on our pants one leg at a time? We climb in bed dead tired, or sick or angry. We all need food, need friends, feel hurt and taste grief. And we all feel that joy in good times that lifts us up to heaven. Now is the time to focus on your neighbor’s child’s birthday, on the lady down the street who can’t get to the store, on the hungry person on the corner who might could help you out around you house or yard. We have got to stop being afraid of each other and reach out so that we see that we’re all the same under the skin. It only takes once.
If you listen to your news or read your papers, it’s us against them. It doesn’t have to be that way. If every one of us would try to do one thing every day for someone else it would be a different world. And if that little thing that you’re doing happens to be for someone you don’t know, someone you have nothing in common with or don’t want to know at all, so much the better. The distance has got to be closed between people who are afraid of each other. Pick something, anything. Go read books to children at the library or visit some old folks at the nursing home. Take some food to a local shelter, but don’t just drop it off, stay around and say hi. Make a connection. It only takes once.
And you, Miss Ann, you go on and talk to those folks who ask for your time. It will be different than you think, just ask how you can be of help and take it from there. That’s all we need to do to avert the catastrophe of famine and pestilence that will rain down upon us when we are rolling in hate downhill and can’t stop ourselves turning against each other. Just take a step, any step, and don’t study war no more.