Renewing the American Spirit

Patriot Week begins on 9/11 and ends on 9/17 (the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution (Constitution Day)) and renews America’s spirit by celebrating the First Principles, Founding Fathers and other Patriots, vital documents and speeches, and flags that make America the greatest nation in world history. Many of current holidays have become overly commercialized or have lost their deeper meaning. We need to invigorate our appreciation and understanding of America’s spirit. This blog is dedicated to keeping the spirit of Patriot Week - and America - alive all year long.....

Thursday, April 28, 2011

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln's statement is simply profound. Today, it has become nearly commonplace to learn  about how certain individuals have overcome adversity - be it broken homes, illness, job losses, poor schools, physical ailments, addictions, and other maladies.  Those people are rightfully applauded for becoming successful by overcoming their challenges.  They are exemplars and should be emulated.

What you don't read about often is about the men and women who wield power and decline to use or abuse it. Of course, too often we learn about abuses and corruptions of power.  Some such "leaders" are across the globe - witness North Korea, Cuba, Libya, and elsewhere; some are too close for comfort - witness Detroit's ex-mayor and the disgraced former governors of New York and Illinois.

What we should keep in mind - and they are indeed a vanishing breed - are the men and women who are given great power, and use it responsibly - or even more rarely - refuse to exercise it - to allow for liberty to flourish. 

America was founded on the premise of limited government - that men and women are endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights, and that the purpose of government is to protect those rights. We must remember that the power to do good is also the power to do evil. That sometimes the most courageous exercise of power is to refuse to wield it. That sometimes people must be allowed to go their own way; that the spark of freedom is in much having the ability to strive and fail than anything else. As Lincoln said, the true test of character is to see what one does - or does not do - with power.

Don't forget to visit Patriot Week

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