Obama Evolving Like Lincoln?
Often politicians are chided for changing their minds or opinions. While I agree this can be worrisome, especially if it happens often and with extremely different ideas evolving with an idea can show leadership and innovation. Lincoln is famous for evolving on the idea of slavery. He was not always for freeing the slaves but he knew his duty to his country was to keep it intact and by emancipating the southern slaves he knew he would have a better chance at that. Lincoln once said, “if I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.” In that quote it becomes obvious that Lincoln’s motives were not to free the slaves but to keep the Union together.
After the Emancipation Proclamation Lincolns ideas began to evolve further. He favored incorporation of black into the military, the 13th amendment, which abolished slavery, and even favored some black being allowed to vote. Unfortunately Lincoln’s evolution was cut short by an assassination, and we can only wonder where he would’ve taken this country if he had been given a chance to finish his presidency.
Along the same lines our current President Barack Obama has taken a stance on gay rights. It started with the passing of removing the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy in the military, and has led to his proclamation that gay citizens should be able to enjoy the benefits and securities or marriage that straight couples do. While he threw in the caveat that he recognizes this is a states right, he could do no harm in giving his opinion. It will be interesting to see if during the election cycle, and if he earns a second term if he continues to evolve on the subject.