President’s Day Nostalgia: Attempting To Summon The Ghosts Of President’s Day Past (Help!)

It is a bit ironic that the 20th of February is now also a day set aside for a man who — all throughout what feels like years but are only 30 days — has reigned from D.C. with what appear to be narcissistic behaviors that only serve to expose the public with as much of his presence as possible.*

Too many days have been set aside for this so-called leader-in-chief whose ego-led decisions so far have concentrated on falsely dictating his superiority in all manner of state affairs, including the false claim of a popular vote win.

Where are the ghosts of president’s day past when we need them?

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“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” President Abraham Lincoln

For this 1 of 4 President’s Day, the formidable Abraham Lincoln is our first ghost.

What Can We Learn, Mr. President?

I have admired Abraham Lincoln since the moment I read a mini biography about his life. I was a youngin’ and I had not yet discovered Harry Potter, so my first books were that of history.

What I had learned about Abraham Lincoln was that he was a determined person that did what was necessary for what he believed would benefit the whole of the union. With a quality best described as leadership, Abraham Lincoln knew how to be a good leader and that meant that he know how to negotiate for the interests of the whole by listening and being sympathetic to his opponent’s demands.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called it understanding. I believe that Abraham Lincoln had the capacity to understand others and the ability to turn that understanding into action.

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In an interview with Harvard Business Review, in around 2009, Diane Coutu interviewed Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin about her 2005 best-selling account of President Abraham Lincoln’s leadership during the Civil War, Team of Rivals. In this interview, Goodwin summed up a few qualities that Abraham Lincoln had used to bring together people with different political interests.

Most memorable was that Abraham Lincoln surrounded his cabinet with a team of rivals. The Rivals, in this sense, were not against the will of the people in a sense that is equitable to now — historical context — but were Rivals in the sense that challenged Abraham Lincoln and that represented views that differed from his own. President Obama did this by selecting his rival, Hilary Clinton, as his secretary of state, and by selecting his rival, Joe Biden, as his Vice President.

“But you have to remember, the idea is not just to put your rivals in power—the point is that you must choose the best and most able people in the country, for the good of the country. Lincoln came to power when the nation was in peril, and he had the intelligence, and the self-confidence, to know that he needed the best people by his side, people who were leaders in their own right and who were very aware of their own strengths. That’s an important insight whether you’re the leader of a country or the CEO of a company.” HBR

Oh, how relevant this quote is today.

Lesson: Understanding & Service “For The Good Of The Country”

I think President Abraham Lincoln understood that everything he did was in service to the country and to the people living in its boundaries. Service is a quality, I believe, this administration does not know about. Being able to conduct political business on behalf of and in service to others and not for one’s self-interest or for one’s hurting ego is an attribute of honest, empathetic, and altruistic people. I am unsure if they can be learned.

What Can WE Do?

We must hold true to our values of goodness and altruism; we must be understanding of others; we must place value to those who have been traditionally undervalued. This is a fight that will always be fought. Perhaps if we understand our own power as citizens and as good people, we can slowly push away negative values so that maybe, someday, they may not be the topic that overwhelms what is true, what is right, and what is humane.

 


BL | Black Lion Journal | Black Lion | Christina Lydia
© 2017 | The Black Lion is a humble interdisciplinary journal that values your voice. Visit the submissions page to learn more about submitting to the Journal’s sections or to The Wire’s Dream Magazine.

*This is not a diagnosis for I am not a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist. Although the document about NPD is quite revealing, especially when observing the sovereign of this administration from afar.
 

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