The Tea Party rebellion has been tamped down (for now), the absurd government shutdown is behind us, the national parks are reopened, and President Obama can focus on more mundane matters.Such as marking one of the most important events in American history — an event that played a significant role in Barack Obama becoming our first black president.
Had the Battle of Gettysburg not gone the way it did, President Obama might not be in the Oval Office.
Many have noted the striking links between President Obama and President Lincoln: Both rose from obscurity in Illinois to lead our nation. President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery and put our nation on the (too) long road to the equality asserted in one of our founding documents.
Now here we are on the eve of the 150th anniversary of one of the greatest and most important presidential speeches in our history.
And President Obama still has not confirmed that he will be present for the commemoration of the Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19.
He has been invited by Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey.
He has been invited by Sen. Pat Toomey and Rep. Scott Perry (unfortunately, leaders of that Tea Party rebellion).
And yet we are less than a month away, and the president has not yet confirmed he will attend (as of Monday afternoon).
That would be unthinkable.
Preparations for the event are well under way, and the National Park Service is expecting a huge crowd — so large that officials are planning to set up screens outside the Soldiers' National Cemetery to broadcast the event (which, we hope, won't include a two-hour oration of the sort delivered by Edward Everett 150 years ago, which so contrasted with President Lincoln's concise and powerful words).
Maybe Mr. Obama — known as a good orator (though not necessarily a concise one) — is daunted by the challenge of delivering an address that could live up to its predecessor.
No, that can't be it. Perhaps it's simply a matter of tying down security details before announcing plans to attend.
Surely, there's nothing on Mr. Obama's calendar that day that could be more important than this opportunity to offer words that might reunite our politically divided nation.
We're expecting you, President Obama.
You know that date.
You know the address.
Make the commitment.
Start writing your speech.
Make it a good one.
Let's conclude with a reprinting of that 272-word masterpiece:
The Gettysburg Address:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.