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President's Ponderings: The Lessons of Lincoln and Grandpa

By Ed Luttrell, National Grange President, (President's Ponderings Blog - 2/12/13)

  FEBRUARY 12, 2013 --

February 12 has always been a special day for me, at least since I was old enough to understand birthdays and Presidents. It did help that my grandfather shared Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.

Today you’ll see a multitude of columns, blogs, and stories about our sixteenth President, deservedly so. Lincoln stood up and did what he believed was right in spite of hateful and savage treatment by his opponents. In preventing the dissolution or destruction of our country, as commander-in-chief he oversaw actions that led to the deaths of over 600,000 Americans. And in spite of an all-consuming civil war, he still managed to lead the country in passing a number of far-reaching legislative measures.

I think many Americans would be surprised by the number of achievements, many of which still impact our lives that Lincoln advocated for and worked hard to make into law and public policy.

I saw a lot of President Lincoln in my grandpa. Honesty and integrity were core values and they were supported by a willingness, even eagerness, to work hard to achieve his goals. I hope that I am living up to those standards in my life as his grandson and as an American citizen.

The concern that I have is how many of our elected officials have these basic values as their core? Are they honest with us? Are they telling us what they think we want to hear or are they telling us the truth, even when we don’t want to hear it? Are they sacrificing their values for political gain, or are they standing firm on what they believe to be their fundamental principles? Are they working hard for the future of their community, their state, and our great nation or are they now entitled to perks and privileges?

Today is a great day to remember to hold a picture of Lincoln, and one of your admired ancestors, up to your elected officials and ask them to reaffirm the values and work ethic that we elected them to have. Each generation needs to remember the struggles, trials, and tribulations of the past and commit to overcoming today's obstacles and challenges. Each American and Granger needs to remind our elected officials that it isn’t about them, it is about our Country and our future.

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