For some time, the very foundations of America have been shifting. Some of the reformations are needed, some are not. In recent days the shift has been pushed forward at a frightening pace.
Much of what we see in the news these days are symptoms of more significant problems in the culture. The questions of who defines truth, who protects truth, and who governs free speech are core issues. These are central to the longevity of our nation and commonwealth.
In an address on January 27, 1838, Abraham Lincoln said in Springfield, Illinois, “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.”
I was struck by the words author and finisher in Lincoln’s quote. They aren’t necessarily the same person.
One of the challenges of parenting is knowing how much punishment is appropriate for an offense. As a young parent, a friend of mine advised me that I should not overact to everything because there may come a day when overreaction is indeed in order.
I have also learned to be mindful of the punishment’s effect on others in our household. Perhaps the child’s action shook our family, but my reaction could do more and even greater damage.
In that case, the child may be the author, but I would be guilty of being the finisher.
In a country that presumes innocence until being proven guilty and relies on due process, legislative leaders should be careful to avoid being the finishers.
Our nation, even our commonwealth to some degree, is deeply divided. We must shine the light on evil and work for the good of one another. At the same time, leaders must be wise, as Lincoln said, to help us live through all time.
Wisdom and leadership are most important on tumultuous days like these.
Brandon Porter is editor of Kentucky Today and communications director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention.