[SPECKS OF LIFE] Statesmanship, anyone?

 “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.” - ABRAHAM LINCOLN.


“Statesmanship,” per the Oxford dictionary, “is the ability, qualification or practice of a statesman, wisdom and skill in the management of public affairs.” 

Being skilled in the management of public affairs indicates possession of excellent tact, sagacity and wisdom in governance viz-a-vis the politics of the era.

A statesman by definition is a “politician who is skilled in political affairs and exhibits an aura of dignity in his language and personal behavior.”

Abraham Lincoln is my personal choice of a true and genuine statesman.

Born February 12, 1809 in Larue County, Kentucky, Lincoln sat in Washington as the 16th US Head of State from March 4, 1861 up to his violent and untimely death on April 15, 1865.

Revered for his personal sacrifice - including his family - to liberate the Negroes (African Americans) from slavery at a most difficult time when the US was struggling through the violent Cvil War years, he rose over and above the yardstick of American political standards to become the “Great Emancipator.”

His wife, Mary Todd, served as a low-key First Lady.

If by memory you recall his Gettysburg address (it begins with “Four scores and seven years ago,...), this will spark in you a nationalistic fervor that is much needed in these critical times of our lives.

Lincoln held together the Union which was being threatened by the Confederacy that has broken itself away because the latter wanted the status quo and nothing of Lincoln’s campaign to free the blacks from slavery.

He did not live long to enjoy and savor the celebration of the Union’s victory because he was felled by an assassin’s (John Wilkes Booth) bullet soon after.

“Honest Abe,” as he was dubbed for his candor and straightforwardness, lives forever.

Lincoln, a lawyer and the son of a frontiersman, had independence of judgment and conspicuous courage, two sterling qualities of a statesman that our local politicians need to possess if their integrity would stand against public scrutiny.

Unfortunately, everyone, it appears, just wants to compromise and trade horses, if you know what I mean.

It is about scratching each other’s back.

Politicians in our midst remain stagnant and self-seeking because they are not schooled in the art of diplomacy, tact and statecraft.

This is sad.

While the elder politicians of yesteryears desired to bequeath a legacy that would pull our country out of the rut, those who managed and are lucky to inherit their political genes have not displayed anything worthy of emulation. Or something that would make their fathers proud of them.

Sure, they had prominent family names but that is all there is to it.

I wonder if any of our aspiring young politicians today are curiously studying the lives of eminent political leaders here and abroad.

Political dynasties have mushroomed even as their prohibition is legislated in our Constitution.

I cannot help but compare our crop of leaders with those who have exemplary records in politics, executive management and statesmanship.

Fault finding, good-for-nothing politicians and character assassins should be ideally dismissed forever from our midst and sent to the graveyard of oblivion where they rightfully deserve their place.

Our population is ever-growing but our national mindset is not.


Who contributes to the mental pollution that results in the mental bankruptcy of our countrymen?

A reversal of this abhorrent attitude must come soon.

Or we face the threat of subsiding into a fate similar to what has transpired in many unstable countries - democratic or whatever - we have read of.

Myanmar? Syria? Afghanistan? Sudan?

It is our choice, actually. (Email your feedback to fredlumba@yahoo.com.) GOD BLESS THE PHILIPPINES!  


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