Lincoln’s Bixby Letter

When I saw a story about the Bixby Letter being found in Dallas, I was intrigued.  I had never heard of the document, and I am a big Lincoln fan.  So, after finding the text of the letter, I decided that I would reprint it so that others who were looking might be able to read it as well.  Enjoy.

Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln

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Idol is not to Blame

Find my latest American Idol article here.

Is it pressure or unrealistic expectations?

This week a former contestant on American Idol killed herself outside Paula Abdul’s apartment, and now, of course, many people are looking to blame the show for her death.

It is sad that this young lady with all of her apparent mental problems chose to end her life, but I do not feel that it can be blamed on American Idol.

The truth of the matter is that kids these days are being given a false sense of reality and expectations.  Just this week, Fox News published a story which blamed parents and schools for attempting to raise students’ self-esteem and expectations for their futures to unrealistic levels.

This is because children are praised without having to perform.  Children will always perform up to the expectations of adults.  When they are given no expectations in order to receive praise and rewards, then they will expect the world to be given to them for nothing.  They are often built-up without any foundation of personal accountability for 18 years, and then released on world that will savage them with its expectations.  Or, even worse they marry early and destroy the lives of their spouse and children with their expectation that everything will just be given to them without them having to put forth any effort.

American Idol and the other reality programs that focus on young people simply present us each season with the ugly truth of this situation.  Each season we see young person after young person talking about how they are not given a fair chance and how the ‘deserve’ to go on.  As Clint Eastwood said in Unforgiven, “Deserve has got nothing to do with it.”  No one ‘deserves’ to make it on American Idol or in any business.  They prove themselves through determination, hard work and talent.  The problem is that this generation, like most, does not want to put in the work that it takes to achieve, and they have been taught that they are the stars of their own movie.  Living a life where you go to work every day and earn an honest wage in order to support the family that you love is something that they cannot comprehend, and if they could, they would probably think it was boring and despise it.