Ken Blackwell is Senior Fellow, Family Empowerment, and Robert Morrison is Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at Family Research Council. This article appeared in The American Thinker on April 30, 2013.
A very significant date, March 4, 2013, has passed virtually without notice. It was on that date that President Obama's tenure exceeded that of Abraham Lincoln. We can all give thanks to God, of course, that Mr. Obama's term in office has not been cut short, as Lincoln's was, by a heinous act of political violence. Still, the "longer than Lincoln served" theme is worth exploring.
Many comparisons between Lincoln and Obama were offered at the time of his election and inauguration more than four years ago. That's understandable because both served in the Illinois legislature in Springfield and both had brief terms in the U.S. Congress; Lincoln a single term in the House, Obama a single term in the Senate. Of course, as the first black president, Barack Obama was seen by millions as an heir of the Lincoln mantle of freedom.
When Lincoln left Springfield on February 11, 1861, he offered this brief but poignant farewell:
My friends, no one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of the Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in Him who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.
Lincoln penned those words himself. They are eerily prescient. He had been receiving daily death threats. Such things concentrate the mind and sharpen the pen.
We do not recall, and we doubt that Mr. Obama himself recalls, his words on leaving Springfield. This is not a partisan attack. We are similarly unable to remember any lines from John McCain or from Mitt Romney.
It may be that our leaders today cannot communicate with the force and beauty of expression of a Lincoln because they don't write their own speeches and because our 24/7 news cycle drowns eloquence in a deluge of trivia.
Lincoln faced a crisis greater than Washington's because millions of Americans then believed that for one man to enslave another was a "sacred right of self-government." Lincoln's Democratic opponent, Stephen A. Douglas, described this right to choose whether another human being would be property as the essence of "popular sovereignty."
Barack Obama agrees with Stephen A. Douglas that some humans are the property of others. That's why he led the successful effort in Springfield to prevent Illinois from protecting infants who survive abortions. He has not stated that he believes the right to choose abortion implies a right to choose an effective abortion, that is, the right to a dead child. But all his actions have proceeded from that unstated premise, all confirm his rigid adherence to that doctrine. He stood out from the field. All pro-choice Democrats in the U.S. Senate recoiled from such a stance. Not Barack Obama. He did not blink. We should remember Philadelphia. Here Americans once declared that we are all created equal -- not born, created -- and endowed by our Creator with a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
President-elect Lincoln passed through Philadelphia on his way to his inauguration. On Washington's Birthday, 1861, Lincoln raised the flag of the Union over Independence Hall. There, he said he had no political beliefs that did not proceed from that Declaration. And, in an uncharacteristically emotional flourish, he said he would rather be assassinated on that spot than to surrender a single element of that revered document.
Today in Philadelphia, Kermit Gosnell is on trial. He is charged with acting out his belief in an effective abortion. He is said to have wielded surgical scissors as a weapon. When unborn children he had attempted to kill in the womb were instead born alive, it is alleged that Gosnell snipped their spinal cords with his scissors. Snip. Snip. And a human life is ended. By now, we know the depravity that allegedly occurred in Gosnell's human slaughterhouse.
President Obama did not hesitate to barge into the Skip Gates or Travon Martin cases, but has limited his comments on the Gosnell trial to the most banal. What could he say? Instead, he is going to a Planned Parenthood celebration of the right to choose. This killing organization has reduced the slaughter of innocents to an assembly-line process. In their own annual report, they admit to having killed almost 334,000 unborn children in 2011. Now, with gallows humor, their Maryland affiliate is touting a fund-raising gala as "The Right to Shoes."
Overall, U.S. abortion traffickers have denied to 55,000,000 unborn children the right to shoes.
The lapel pins that pro-lifers wear show the fully developed feet of an unborn child at 10 weeks gestation. How many of Planned Parenthood's victims are that old or older? Lamentably, this is Barack Obama's legacy. This talented man pledged his fealty to this merciless killing crew before he sought his nomination to the White House. This is how he edged out Hillary Clinton for the nod of his party. It is now a party shackled to a corpse. He could no more deny Planned Parenthood than he could repudiate his Electoral College triumphs. Abraham Lincoln said it better than anyone today has said it: "Nothing stamped in the Divine Image was sent into the world to be trod upon." Nor should their spinal cords be severed. We believe those murdered newborns in Philadelphia were stamped in the Divine Image as much as any other human being.
President Obama does not. For this, more than anything else, Barack Obama stands to lose the blessing of Him who is everywhere for good. For this reason, his presidency will not be lighted down with Abraham Lincoln in honor to the latest generation.