On this day in 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. It was a two-minute speech of just 272 words. I reread it this morning, sparked by Twitter, before it was obliterated from Trending Topics (to make room for impeachment-related matters and, of course, #fartgate).
Seriously, imagine the scene, it still evokes a real sense of solemnity and pride. And I imagine it would do the same for even the most jaded among us.
Fast forward to this afternoon when I find myself tuning in to the latter half the day’s House Committee hearings. I tell myself to listen to the data, to peel away at the tone, and to be an observer of what’s happening in the room. This is not easy. It’s especially difficult having the words of Abraham Lincoln still pinging around the ole noggin as I watch.
It’s not the Gettysburg Address that’s gnawing at me. It’s that … Lincoln didn’t think it was great. He thought it would just be a footnote in history.
Ahhh … the modesty. That’s what’s missing.
I saw politicians today rejecting modesty, vulnerability (and therefore objectivity); attempting to gain points at the expense of the other side, while witnesses did their best to come out unscathed.
A lesson in modesty might go a long way.
By the way, I challenged myself to make this post exactly the length of the Gettysburg Address to highlight its succinct brilliance. I succeeded in that, but not with brilliance.