Required Reading Before Voting?

TUESDAY 8-05-08…I have a fascinating idea! It’ll never happen, but it’s still a fascinating idea. I believe– prior to every presidential political campaign, all registered voters of all political parties should be required to read, and sign that they have read and understand the following memo:

You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot build character and courage by taking away men’s initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could–and should–do for themselves.

Now, if every voter in every political party were to read, understand–and BELIEVE– in those statements, they would be able to quickly survive the politics of presidential campaigns. They would be able to compare every political promise being made by candidates who nowadays, will say anything and promise everything, just to win an election.

The “memo” that I’ve given you, is really not a memo at all. The words are part of history, and were written by Abraham Lincoln. But they could still be very helpful in today’s political climate. Look at each sentence, and compare it with the promises being made by today’s presidential candidates.

If you can find a single candidate that meets the ethics described above, let me know who that candidate is. I’d like to vote in the upcoming election in November.

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3 Responses

  1. Good ethics suggestion for today’s voters–we need more publicity of statements like this. If schools still taught real history, this would make an excellent resource for discussion. Thanks for pointing it out, Bruce

  2. While I agree with everything stated, and think Lincoln was a great american, I would like the proper person to receive credit.

    William J. H. Boetcker (1873 – 1962) was an American religious leader and influential public speaker.

    Born in Hamburg, Germany, he was ordained a Presbyterian minister soon after his arrival in the United States as a young adult. He quickly gained attention as an eloquent motivational speaker, and is often regarded today as the forerunner of such contemporary “success coaches” as Anthony Robbins.

    An outspoken political conservative, Rev. Boetcker is perhaps best remembered for his authorship of a pamphlet entitled The Ten Cannots; originally published in 1916, it is often misattributed to Abraham Lincoln. The error apparently stems from a leaflet printed in 1942 by a conservative political organization called the Committee for Constitutional Government; the leaflet bore the title “Lincoln on Limitations” and contained some genuine Lincoln quotations on one side and the “Ten Cannots” on the other, with the attributions juxtaposed (the mistake of crediting Lincoln for having been the source of “The Ten Cannots” has been repeated many times since, most notably by Ronald Reagan in a speech he gave at the 1992 Republican convention in Houston).

    There are several minor variants of the pamphlet in circulation, but the most commonly-accepted version appears below:

    You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
    You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
    You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
    You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
    You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
    You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
    You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
    You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
    You cannot build character and courage by destroying men’s initiative and independence.
    And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

  3. Thanks for the update. Abraham Lincoln was credited in Military Matters magazine.

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