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Robert Todd Lincoln was Abraham’s eldest son, and was incredibly successful as a Chicago lawyer and businessman (Chair of Pullman) in his own right. But he stayed away from politics like the plage, as I describe in my essay “Dodging the Shadow of Greatness,” in my new book  of essays presented before the Chicago Literary Club, “Apple Pressings,” now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Booklocker.com.

But Bob Lincoln, as his friends called him, had the heart of a political leader, as evidenced by his speech at the anniversary of the Lincoln/Douglas debate:

He said, “In our country, there are no ruling classes. The right to direct public affairs according to the might and influence and conscience belongs to the humblest as well as the greatest. The elections represent the judgments of individual voters. ..the power of the people.. by their judgments expressed through the ballot box, to shape their own destinies, sometimes makes one tremble.

“But it is in times of danger, critical moments, that brings into action the high national quality of the citizenship of America. The people are always true. They are always right., and I have an abiding faith they will remain so. ”

Let’s hope this carries forward in the coming elections.

 

The political scrambling over the most recent mass shootings in America brings to mind our experience last March, as our cruise ship was pulling into port to visit Christchurch, New Zealand. The captain announced that a mass shooting event had just happened there and we would instead be moving on to the next port. I was shocked to have come so close to such a horrific event.

Then we saw, within a week’s time, the New Zealand government was moving to further tighten already strong restrictions on gun ownership. Now in New Zealand, one cannot have a clip of more than 7 rounds, many combat type weapons are proscribed, and one must have a license to own a gun.

This island country of less than 5 million was able to act quickly and decisively to bring more meaningful control of guns. Yet, in our great nation of 65 times the population, despite dozens and dozens of such major incidents and ongoing gun carnage, we seem unable to legislate even the most moderate of gun control.

Is this a sign that America has become too big and diverse to govern? If not what is it a sign of?

If you check on Amazon to see about buying a copy of my wonderful new book of essays on all sorts of things, ranging from a cheetah on our Landcruiser hood, to a super french fry museum in Bruges, to the story behind Todd Lincoln becoming America’s greatest industrialist, you may find that the prices look high. But, just go to the offerings in small type and you will find lower prices for the softbound and hardback editions.

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