Lincoln Memorial
Where is the Lyceum?

Where is the great prophet now?  Dead and dust, now, in our moment of peril?  Only his wisdom survives. What did he tell us?  "At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide."

'The pillars of the temple of liberty,' 'hewn from the quarry of sober reason' but eroded by 'passion and ignorance' are crumbling and the temple is falling.  We few, 'still possessed of some general intelligence, sound morality and an abiding reverence for the constitution and laws:' while we breathe possibly the last free breaths, let us assemble for one more charge.  Sound the call and rouse your inner Washington; that part of us that does not hesitate to choose justice, does neither shrink from battle nor lust for power.  Remember and awaken the American Cincinnatus who so easily could have claimed a throne but chose instead the rightful legacy of greatness that the amazed and grateful inheritors of freedom proffered for lack of a just compensation.  

Supporting the 'lofty edifice of freedom', 'erected by our forefathers' and entrusted in turn to the generations between them and us, is not 'a gratifying task to the Caesar's and Napoleons now descended upon us.'  "Those who belong to the family of the lion, or the tribe of the eagle" scorn our monuments, our laws, our culture, our freedom and discount our very lives.  These "geniuses thirst and burn for distinction; and, if possible, will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves, or enslaving freemen."

"Distinction is their paramount object, and although they would as willingly, perhaps more so, acquire it by doing good as harm; yet, that opportunity being past, and nothing left to be done in the way of building up, they boldly set to the task of pulling down." They have harnessed the "jealousy, envy, and avarice, incident to our nature, and so common to a state of peace, prosperity, and conscious strength", to the task of our destruction and enslavement.

The 'scenes of the revolution' have faded.  Passion for freedom and justice has abated.  This is the 'salve of time', erasing wounds and monuments alike.  Can we, as descendants of free men and women 'be united with each other, attached to the government and laws, and generally intelligent, successfully frustrate their designs?'  Only if we are successful will history tell our story.  For it is the survivors who write the epitaphs.  And, if they be not us, freedom itself may become but an abused legend.

For now I implore all of you in the name of the American and martyr whose greatness we are heir to and that I have been quoting these past moments.  Rise and vote so our children need not rise and fight.  "This task of gratitude to our fathers, justice to ourselves, duty to posterity, and love for our species in general, all imperatively require us faithfully to perform."

quotes are from Abraham Lincoln's Lyceum speech

Alex Miller U.S. Senate


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