Lincoln was president during the greatest challenge to democracy that our
country has ever faced. In 1858, two years before the outbreak of the Civil War,
"A house divided against itself cannot stand." ‘I believe this
government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half
free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect
the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing or all the other.”
And so it is today. I certainly expect these United States to continue existing and even to be a major player on the world stage, but our nation will either become more democratic or frankly authoritarian. It will become all one thing or all the other.
In the upcoming 2022 mid-term elections and the 2024 presidential election, American democracy itself is the underlying issue. Surely, Friends will be working for what Lincoln called “a new birth of freedom.” Surely, we will struggle—non-violently—to emancipate ourselves from the fear of a democratic dissolution.
~ Richard Russell
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