Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Thank You Senator Alexander

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn)
On January 21, 2013 President Barrack Obama was inaugurated to begin his second term as the leader of the free world.  There were many moments on this historical day, but the one that will stick in my memory for sometime was the brief speech made by Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.   Here are Senator Alexander's thoughts,

Today we praise the American tradition of transferring or reaffirming immense power as we inaugurate the President of the United States.
We do this in a peaceful, orderly way. There is no mob, no coup, no insurrection. This is a moment when millions stop and watch. A moment most of us always will remember. A moment that is the most conspicuous and enduring symbol of our democracy. How remarkable that this has survived for so long in such a complex country with so much power at stake—this freedom to vote for our leaders and the restraint to respect the results. Last year, a tour guide at Mt. Vernon told me that our first president, George Washington, posed this question: "What is most important of this grand experiment, the United States?" And then Washington gave this answer: "Not the election of the first president, but the election of its second president. The peaceful transition of power is what will separate this country from every other country in the world." Today we celebrate, because this is the 57th inauguration of the American president.
Senator Alexander reminded me of the finer qualities of  great statesman.  He was like Douglas in 1861 pledging his support for Lincoln to maintain the Union.  This prompts me to ask, "What does saving the Union mean?"  The answer, so beautifully rendered by Senator Alexander, is that preserving the Union meant protecting "this freedom to vote for our leaders and the restraint to respect the results."  Indeed preserving the Union distinguished the United States from other nations in "the peaceful transition of power." 

If the seceding states had grasped this grand idea of accepting Lincoln's election and shown restraint and respect for the results, we might have avoided the devastation that the Civil War wrought upon this country.  Perhaps, we needed the sacrifice of 750,000 Americans to maintain Washington's vision of American leadership.  

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