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Showing posts from March, 2020

"Lincoln's Greatest Speech" Offers Lessons for Today

March 4, 2020 marked the 155th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. Although the Gettysburg Address is better known, I think the Second Inaugural is rightly called, as Ronald C White Junior did in his book of the same name, Lincoln’s Greatest Speech. The short speech is worth reading in full.[1] The speech serves as a North Star to a nation seeking to navigate its way past its current division and confusion.

The concluding paragraph of the speech is its most famous part: “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan — to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations.”

It is hard to sufficiently underscore how truly remarkable these words are. We who live in a politically polarized nation f…

Autocracy is Hazardous to Your Health

At this point in time, the coronavirus pandemic threatens the health of individuals and economies around the globe.

Such viruses can mutate and jump from animals to people who are in close contact.[1] This was the case with the 1918 bird flu pandemic that killed about 50 million people worldwide, including my grandfather, and the Ebola virus that broke out in the last quarter of the twentieth century.[2] 

Such epidemics only can be treated successfully by the efforts of governments working together under the guidance of their scientific communities. When public health decisions become political by trying to make politicians look good rather than admitting the difficulties involved and bringing all possible resources to bear, the results can be disastrous. Such was the case with the response of the American government to Hurricane Katrina that struck the Gulf Coast in 2005.[3]

In the case of world-threatening epidemics, governments must be able to quickly assess the situation, then act.[…