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Trump versus Lincoln

From Trump’s indictment to a reciting of Lincoln’s Gettysburg address – what a day of contrasts.

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Abraham Lincoln and Donald Trump (Lincoln photo by IceKoldKube [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons; Trump photo by Michael Vadon [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons)

Yesterday, August 3, 2023, was a momentous, if not defining, day in American history. Former president Donald J. Trump was arraigned in a Washington, D.C., courtroom just blocks from where the insurrection he fomented against the United States government took place on January 6, 2021. The charges included conspiring to defraud the United States and attempting to obstruct an official proceeding. In addition, he was charged with conspiring to take away “the free exercise and enjoyment of a right and privilege secured … by the Constitution and laws of the United States … the right to vote and to have one’s vote counted.”

This was an indication that America remains a country ruled by law and not an individual! I am amazed at the work Special Counsel Jack Smith has done in such a meticulous fashion and in such short order. I had been skeptical that this day would arrive! I was proud to be an American!

And last night I was proud to be a Kentuckian. I sat in the amphitheater in Chautauqua, New York, and listened as the Chautauqua Symphony performed Michael Daugherty’s “Letters From Lincoln.” I had never heard of this work, much less listened to it. I got goosebumps as I heard brilliant tenor Yazid Gray sing Kentucky-born Abraham Lincoln’s incredible “Gettysburg Address.” I wondered if Donald J. Trump had ever heard of it, much less read it!

Remember what Lincoln said at that famous Civil War battle in a war started by southern insurrectionists: he was honoring the living and the dead union soldiers who fought “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom … and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

It was shocking to see in less than 24 hours the lawlessness of Donald J. Trump contrasted with Lincoln’s brilliant prose extolling lofty aims and values of the United States. I was proud to be a Kentuckian!

So today, to express myself publicly, I proudly wore my “Bourbon with Beshear” tee shirt! Andy’s values and humility coincide with the values Lincoln so eloquently expressed and are in such sharp contrast with the values that Andy’s opponent Daniel Cameron expresses. As I walked the Chautauqua grounds this morning wearing my Beshear shirt, a man stopped me and said, “You’re from Kentucky.” He then said, and I quote, “Surely he can defeat that idiot Cameron. Andy has competence and character. He has been a great governor.” Wow!

A speaker earlier this week, Jennifer Grey, argued that “humility” is the most important quality one can have in the quest for wisdom and social cohesion. I think she’s right. And what better way to frame it in today’s America than to contrast Trump’s reckless, lawless, and narcissistic behavior with Lincoln’s humility and the wisdom of the “Gettysburg Address.”

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Written by Charles Bussey, a Forward Kentucky member.



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The Daily Wrap for Monday, 5/20

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A very light news day, with most of the focus on the arrest of the golfer at the PGA last week. Of note, though, is Heather Cox Richardson’s summary of President Biden’s commencement speech at Morehouse.

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