Voting is a crucial civic duty and elections have profound consequences. Yet whatever happens with this election, there is no silver bullet for fixing what is broken. The work of building, strengthening, and preserving a health democracy belongs to all of us, not to one person.
In a speech in Indiana in 1861, Abraham Lincoln emphasized this idea, saying, “I wish you to remember now and forever, that it is your business, and not mine; that if the union of these States, and the liberties of this people, shall be lost, it is but little to any one man of fifty-two years of age, but a great deal to the thirty millions of people who inhabit these United States, and to their posterity in all coming time. It is your business to rise up and preserve the Union and liberty, for yourselves, and not for me. I desire they shall be constitutionally preserved.”
The point is not that the presidency is unimportant, but that the U.S. President is one temporary, albeit powerful, servant to the people. Lincoln underscored his temporariness before continuing, “…I appeal to you again to constantly bear in mind that with you, and not with politicians, not with Presidents, not with office-seekers, but with you, is the question, ‘Shall the Union and shall the liberties of this country be preserved to the latest generation?’”
The preservation of the Union, which by design assumes it is never perfect but must be continually made more so, is the issue that faces us not only in each election, but in every day of our civic life.
Join us today at 4pm as we work to cultivate compassion for ourselves, others, and our common country with Laura Banks. Then listen to our podcast bonus episode on the responsibility of the people being lead as we move forward.
We chose yesterday, the day after the election 2020, to reopen the Cottage to the public after nine months of closure. This is to honor the Cottage as a place of healing and renewal, especially when we are a ‘house divided.’ Our tours are timed and self-guided, and are happening Wednesdays-Mondays. We hope you will join us. We’ve missed you.
On October 29th we held our 6th annual Lincoln Ideas Forum, our first virtual rendition of the event. We were joined by moderator Andrew Marshall and guest speakers Janet Tran of the Ronald Reagan Foundation, Allison Wickens of Mount Vernon, and Mark Lawrence of the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library who discussed presidential character, a timely topic in the lead up to an important election. Watch the program here.
Your favorite shopping experience is back and virtual for the Holiday 2020 season. We’re excited to announce that we’re participating in Strathmore’s Virtual Museum Shop Holiday Market Nov 11–18! For one week, shop for unique gifts online, enjoy free shipping, and feel good knowing that your purchase supports regional cultural nonprofits.
Support our educational programs, preservation efforts and public events by making a contribution to President Lincoln’s Cottage. Donate online today.