Abe Lincoln once said:
“All the armies of Europe, Asia and African combined…
With Bonaparte for commander
Cannot by force take a drink for the Ohio [River]…”
If we choose to stop them,
This is even truer now than in the pre-war years
When Lincoln said it.
“The danger,” Lincoln said, “If it every reaches us,
Must spring up among us, it cannot come from abroad.
If destruction be our lot, we most ourselves be its author…”
A forewarning of the events that would later shake our nation
In war we ball by different names
Depending on which side of the Mason Dixon Line we live:
The Civil War, The War Between the States,
The War of Northern Aggression, a war we continue to fight
Despite Gen. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House,
Because the issues that gave rise to that war
Continue unresolved, despite all the blood spilt
In places such as Gettysburg and Manassas,
We live as divided now as we ever did,
In a nation populated by people
Who do not hear each other because
We do not listen to what others says,
Our war is no longer a war between north and south,
Or even east or west, but on some ethereal landscape
We cannot see or touch, but only feel,
Though the pain is just as real and so is the bloodshed
This all coming at a time when we see ourselves
As something less than what we really are.
Donald Trump campaigned on the idea of
Making America Great Again
In truth, it has never ceased being great.
We have simply forgotten it,
Losing our vision in the petty squabbles
Unworthy of a great nation,
Passing judgment on people who disagree with us
Based on personal prejudice and ignorance
We ourselves have created,
An exchange of hostilities that might make
Fort Sumter seem tame
Yet filled with fears no more real
Than the ghosts in the closest
and monsters under the bed
and monsters under the bed
We feared as children.
We make them real by own relentless assumptions,
Each degrading remark contributing
To our own downfall, from within, not without.
It is not ISIS or the Russians or even an asteroid from space
We must fear most but our lack of faith
In who we are as a nation
And what we are capable of doing as a people,
Black or white, gay or straight,
Liberal or conservative.
By faith, I do not mean religious faith,
Though it is made up of the same substance,
Out of which all faith is derived.
Mrs. Obama talked about hope and its loss.
Hope is not the answer.
Faith must be.
Father that we as a united people can accomplish anything,
Overcome any barrier, whether it be terroristic theater from without
Or more potent and ultimately deadly threat
Of a divided nation within.
We need to rebuilt the faith that Lincoln help recreate,
A faith that we can learn again with far less bloodshed,
To listen to each other, feel each other’s pain,
Elevate each other so we can see the best of those we opposed
Rather than the worst,
We must have faith that can overcome all those things we fear most,
And then, indeed, like a dreamer waking from some terrible nightmare
We can remember just how great we really are.