We give President Lincoln much credit for his accomplishments during his political career, much of for his brilliant speeches. Like this list of “Abe Lincoln Truths.”
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift;
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong;
You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer;
You cannot further the brotherhood of Man by encouraging class hatred;
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich;
You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money;
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn;
You cannot build character and courage by taking away Man’s initiative and independence;
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they would and should do for themselves.
Abraham Lincoln: 1859
You must admit that in 1859, President Lincoln must have been looking ahead toward 2017. Each of these statements are spot-on for what we are living today in the U.S. Or maybe times in the United States and circumstances in 1859 were pretty much the same. But, honestly, I think he is simply pointing out some the basest tendencies of humans in their treatment of others.
In all of his “cannots” he has actually pointed out one specific negative of those that turns from “cannot” to “can:” “You CAN change a man or woman by giving them hope and opportunity along with encouragement to beat their circumstances.”
We certainly do not see that enough.