“…government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
— Abraham Lincoln (Gettysburg Address)
During the dedication of the Soldier’s National Cemetery in Gettysburg, President Lincoln rededicated the United States to the great task remaining — the unfinished work of those who gave their lives on the battlefields of the Civil War — to a new birth of freedom and equality for all Americans, and the perpetual protection of government of, by and for the people.
The extent to which a government of, by and for the people might ever have existed outside Lincoln’s or anyone’s imagination is of less importance than the renewed commitment of each generation to pursue such a government and make it’s presence immortal.
Yet, today, with our government composed almost entirely of the 1% and directed almost entirely by the 1%, it is not too difficult to explain why it falls so far short of the mark for the remaining 99% of its citizens — and why the U.S. Congress has public approval ratings in the single digits. Our government is failing so miserably because it does not come close to representing Lincoln’s government of, by and for the people. Rather it resembles in almost every way an oligarchy of privileged rich men and a few privileged rich women.
It is time we all rededicated ourselves to Lincoln’s struggle to birth a truly just and democratic form of government of, by and for all of the people — lest the last vestiges of Mr. Lincoln’s dream will surely perish from the earth.