On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln swore to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.” He entered the office of the presidency at the beginning of the Civil War knowing American Democracy was under threat and that he had one job to do. Above all else, regardless of personal or human loss, he would Preserve the Union of The United States of America.
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The south had seceded forming the Confederacy in a move to save their lost cause, the peculiar institution of slavery. Southern leaders framed the argument for secession as one of the states’ rights. They were standing up to a tyrannical government, breaking away to protect their culture and way of life. Lincoln was viewed as an illegitimate president whose election was not legal. This lie propagated on the southern people led the United States to be divided against itself, ripped apart, eventually, to be put back together tattered, and ultimately reunited in 1865.
In the face of war, battle-weary, often despondent, Lincoln never wavered in his single most significant duty as president. He Preserved the Union for future generations.
A scant 160 years later, another man placed his hand on a bible. He stood on a cold morning, January 20, 2021, and swore to preserve the Union. Like Lincoln before him, he entered office under threat of war from a political faction, countrymen, steeped in hate and bent on the destruction of Democracy.
Joseph R. Biden took the oath of office under the guard of the American military only fourteen days after domestic terrorists attempted to overthrow the very election he won in record numbers. He defeated Donald J. Trump but did not defeat the lie that drives a divided America to the brink of utter destruction. His job, like Lincoln’s before him, is to preserve the Union.
Michelle Obama said, “The presidency reveals who you are.”
Abraham Lincoln was a man who withstood unbearable pain to fulfill his oath. He did not falter in the storm of blood and hate that was the Civil War. Though he did not live to see his legacy, he did preserve the Union he loved. In him, the presidency revealed a patriot willing to sacrifice all for a noble cause.
Now, in these days of a direct threat from the Republican Party that Lincoln represented, Joseph R. Biden will be revealed. He is a good man whose journey in life led him to this pivotal moment in history. His job, like Lincoln long ago, is to safeguard Democracy. This fragile Union of States is at a tipping point. The war we fight is one of the systematic destruction of political norms, and the Republic gifted us by the Founders.
Will Biden too be revealed as a man who, like Lincoln before him, withstood the storm to preserve the Union of the United States of America?
We will all know soon enough.