I am not a Know-Nothing

Former US President Abraham Lincoln's statue is seen at Lincoln Memorial  in Washington

Former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln’s statue at the Lincoln Memorial is seen in Washington March 27, 2015. The 170-ton, 19-foot-high statue, formed from 28 blocks of Georgia marble, was sculpted by Daniel Chester French and carved by the Piccirilli brothers. The 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination at Ford’s Theatre in Washington is April 15, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron – RTR4WKMZ

I found this writing from President Abraham Lincoln quoted in an article on The Atlantic’s website very insightful. Applying it to today’s political climate produces interesting results:

I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain,” he (Lincoln) wrote in 1855, in a meditation that reverberates all the way to our current election. “How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/04/the-party-of-lincoln-in-the-time-of-trump/479601/

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With malice toward none; with charity for all

1865oath
Library of Congress
With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan–to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations. – President Lincoln, March 4, 1865
 
We may not think of Abraham Lincoln as “the most divisive president in U.S. history” as some have called President George W. Bush or President Obama, but the truth is Lincoln was president during the only time in our nation’s history that Americans fought against each other in a civil war.
Today, March 4, is the day in 1865 that Lincoln was inaugurated for his second term as President. The closing remarks of his address (above) were relevant then as a way to begin the healing the nation needed. Those same words have meaning today, much for the same reasons.
In the news, on social media, pretty much everywhere you turn, there are messages being shouted that pit one group of people or ideas against another. I look out and see our nation divided. I look out and see divisions, not just between Republicans and Democrats, but among those two groups. What I see is the rising tide of bigotry and racism. This tide is evil and has the potential to drown us all.

We can and must remember our history. We can and must overcome. We can and must do everything within our power to dispell the base instincts that are shouting for attention. Lincoln understood this. He spoke about it and took actions to stop the division. He took actions, just as we must today, to stand united, because should we continue to be divisive we shall fall.

3 Things – The same & different all at once

Be Positive, and Don’t Judge

Humility Promotes Unity

Purity

The three themes of the bible studies I did today.

When I first read each of them, I didn’t think that they fit together. Looking at them again, at the top of this post, focusing on these words, I realize that yes, they are all inter-related.

In this world, we are very quick to judge. We look for that which is different and then do our best to discredit it. We love the negative. We love the “dirty laundry” because it isn’t happening to us. Yet, when the circumstances are flipped, we are ashamed because we don’t want others to know our troubles. We care more about social stature that we do about being kind and helping out whenever and wherever we can. What if we decided not to judge, but to look at the world through a positive lens? What would that world look like?

My guess is that it would be one where we were more unified, because we are humble and recognize how important helping others and not always being right is to living a blessed life. Happiness found in helping others is greater than happiness derived from selfish actions. It lasts longer. And it is real.

Another way to put this idea:  the happiness that happens when you are positive your outlook and humble in you actions is pure.

At first what was muddied is now clear.

 

Poverty

I posed a question on Facebook: “Why do you think there is so much poverty in our country?” I received a few responses from my friends. The responses covered the spectrum. One friend said it was a leading question. He argued that the question assumes there is poverty in this country. He is right. I assumed there is poverty. However, my assumption can be backed up with facts. I want to know why poverty exists. In knowing that, I believe we can find a way to combat it. That is what this blog post will address.

By definition poverty is “the state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support; condition of being poor.” Poverty is tied to economic standing. The definition does not explain why there is poverty. It describes what poverty is. If you were to look at the human condition in some of what are described as the poorest communities in our country, you would see poverty as defined in living color. But why?

I believe that poverty is a condition that results from the combination of a lack of individual character and how the economic infrastructure is built. An individual’s character informs the life choices s/he makes. These choices will directly impact their economic standing. That is the underlying opinion in this article from Bob Lonsberry.

Yet, individual character does not account for all of the reasons there is poverty. There has to be an economic component that factors in. This quote from a Huffingtonpost.com story entitled Richest 1 Percent to Own Half of the World’s Wealth by 2016, Oxfam finds captures the idea pretty well:

Drill down the numbers even more and you’ll learn that the 80 wealthiest people in the world possess $1.9 trillion, which is almost the same amount shared by some 3.5 billion people at the bottom half of the world’s income scale.

Those who are capable of earning the money should be able to. It is called opportunity. Yet, there is something that comes with amassing money and resources in the way Oxfam points out – Power. The power that allows certain people to dictate policy that will give them greater opportunity to amass more money and resources. In other words, the rich get richer and poverty begets poverty.

Is this the way things should be? No.

Is this the way things are? Yes.

How does it change? Incrementally and through the strength of individuals to stand up to the status quo and provide solutions through new ideas. Hopefully, the new task force announced by Lt. Governor Hochul in Rochester, NY will be an example for success. If it isn’t, then it is possible that changing the human condition may never happen.

Let the communicators communicate

Often one of the most frustrating aspects of a communications professional’s job is gaining authorization from management/leadership to distribute information. In this day and age, it is important to get the message right, but it is also important to get the message out. There are ways to do this in a timely fashion. When I read things like the following in news articles, I cringe. I know exactly how the communications staff feels.

The lack of a communications chief was perhaps the most “maddening” deficit, one former worker said. When Hurricane Sandy hit, the media relations team, short of staff, was overwhelmed. One spokesman, Mark Gross, became ill from exhaustion in the middle of the crisis and was ordered to take a day off.

Behind the scenes, Cuomo aides insisted that they sign off on all news releases. Ms. DeRosa said that this was because inaccurate information had gone out, and that the requirement significantly improved the authority’s communications.

But according to former authority executives and to emails, it became a cumbersome process that delayed getting information to customers.

As a result of this “maddening” (good word choice, by the way) supervisory “deficit,” a lean staff was overwhelmed and control and dispersal of information was ceded to the media and others who did not have access to information updates of critical importance.

When the communication is about when power will be turned back on for people after a catastrophic storm, and it is delayed for a reported 12 hours, things can get dicey. As the story points out, an outside entity was asked to take over management of PR and did so, with the caveat that the administration was only allowed 15 minutes to review media releases before they were distributed. Sanity was restored.

The point is that it should have never gotten to this point. Organization’s hire communication professionals to handle the job of creating and distributing messaging and information. Let us do our job. In the end, we’ll all be better off for it.