This presidential year we elect a new leader. He/she may get more electoral votes than the opponent, but not near the plurality that Mr. Lincoln got over Senator Stephen A.Douglas (180 to 12).

Make them count. Democrats are favored to win most races. As a matter of fact, the only Republican in Washington whose seat is safe is Lincoln.

Make HONEST ABE proud of you sir/mam. "My country, 'tis of thee."

On Feb. 12, 1892 Congress declared Abraham Lincoln's birthday to be an official holiday. The celebration is now combined with George Washington's birthday.

The third Monday in February is designated as "President's Day" (or Washington-Lincoln Day). Take your pick.

Mr. Lincoln proved that you could be somebody in the capitol even if you were poor. George Washington showed that being rich didn't hurt either. Would he lie to us?

"Four score and seven years ago...." begins Abraham Lincoln's famous Gettysburg address. How familiar these lines have become.

I think his words are especially appropriate as we observe his 197th birthday in this year 2008.

One hundred forty five years ago, Mr. Lincoln was paying homage to something that was already history, the hard fought Civil War battle at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

On a cold Nov. 19, 1863, in front of 15, 000 people, the president spoke with great eloquence.

In a short three minute address of 10 sentences he praised the Union soldiers. Two hundred sixty-nine words destined to be some of the most famous ever spoken in American history.

History tells us that Mr. Lincoln was suffering from a mild case of smallpox when he delivered the famous speech. He fell ill on the train journey on the way back to Washington.

Today, with many tributes we praise our founding fathers with tributes, mugs, flags, and much useless commercialism, though always with emotion and veneration.

Lincoln said, "We cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. Brave men have consecrated it far above our power to add or detract."

Our observations however fitting and proper cannot alter our history of low points, in particular the scandals of more recent presidents. (Think the impeached Bill and tricky Dick).

I think it relevant to note Lincoln's conclusion in this, our second millennium year, because, in my opinion what made his brief speech so great was not just his remembrance of the fallen Union soldiers.

Piercing as it was, it was also his lucid ability to develop from the past, a vision of the future.

His was a dedication to carry out the ideals for which the men at Gettysburg, Shilo, Antietam, Vicksburg, and other battles had died and become enshrined.

Lincoln was able to unite the past of 1776, (87 years prior) of Adams, Washington, and Jefferson with the future.

Researching his past and ideals, I came upon a profound statement he made five years prior to his election as President in 1860.

"Our progress in degeneracy appears to be pretty rapid. As a nation we began declaring that all men are created equal except Negroes, foreigners, and Catholics."

If it ever comes to this, I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty, where despotism can be pure and without hypocrisy."

He would have loved guys like Hitler, Hirohito, Mussolini and Stalin.

I think as a veteran of what historians consider the greatest (albeit dreadful) war ever fought, we as Americans must look to the past, not as one great curiosity, but as a continuum to the future. Just as President Abraham Lincoln did.

"From the honored dead we take increased devotion to the cause for which they gave their full measure.

Our 16th president was a Republican. Our 44th president will be one or the other. How will she/he take a place in history?

Number 43, Republican George Walker Bush can certainly lay claim to eight intensive historical years in the White House.

Hey, the ship's in trouble, quick, let's drown the captain!

According to a new study, voters are more likely to vote for a candidate with good looks and charisma. Let's be extra careful, because every single vote counts...ha, ha, ha, ha, just kidding!

Charlie Adams E-mail: LST281@AOL.COM

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