STAMPER BROWN: American greatness

Unlike days of old, when President Lincoln lay awake at night trying to unify a divided people, we have a president and Democratic leaders in Congress who preach civility, yet wage their own wars on class, race and gender.

One of the worst things that could be said about any of us is that greatness passed before us, and we failed to recognize it.

It happened to me yesterday when I found myself out of sorts because my best friend was en route to harm’s way via a military deployment, but still took time to call to tell me the sunset he’d just witnessed reminded him of me. Busted. I missed out on the greatness of the moment because I was focused on myself.

If anyone had an excuse to fail to see greatness, it was President Abraham Lincoln. As war-weary as he was with a country in the throes of collapse, Lincoln still saw greatness when he gazed beyond the bloody battlefields and divided mess that was post-Civil War America and envisioned a nation our founders could be proud of that was once again “one nation under God.”

One Thursday afternoon in 1863, Lincoln attempted to share this vision in a little more than two-minute speech that forever became known as The Gettysburg Address. Lincoln reminded those on both sides of the war no one had died in vain because their shed blood offered everyone, regardless of skin color, the opportunity for “a new birth of freedom.” He explained that moving forward as a united people would allow our “government of the people, by the people, for the people” to be preserved.

To no surprise, Lincoln was hammered by some in the media for his vision. An editorial in the Harrisburg Patriot and Union stated, “We pass over the silly remarks of the President, for the credit of the Nation we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them and that they shall no more be repeated or thought of.” The Chicago Times detailed, “The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat and dishwattery [sic] utterances of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the President of the United States.” Boy, were they wrong; Lincoln’s address became one of the most famous presidential speeches in American history.

So here we stand today, the Shining City on a Hill dimly lit and despondently divided. Though words have replaced muskets, and name-calling replaced cannons, the damage is about as severe. Unlike days of old, when President Lincoln lay awake at night trying to unify a divided people, we have a president and Democratic leaders in Congress who preach civility, yet wage their own wars on class, race and gender. They would do well to consider the words of Patrick Henry who said, “Let us trust God, and our better judgment to set us right hereafter. United we stand divided we fall. Let us not split into faction which must destroy that union upon which our existence hangs.”

President Obama and his ilk almost root for America’s demise. They obviously do not believe in the rare and precious gem that is America because they do not recognize the essence of what she is as so amply described in an old adage: “I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors, her ample rivers, and it was not there…in her fertile fields and boundless forests, and it was not there…in her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there…in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution, and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power: America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”

Regrettably, greatness has passed before them, and they have failed to recognize it.


Susan Stamper Brown is an opinion page columnist, motivational speaker and military advocate who writes about politics, the military, the economy and culture. Email Susan at or her website at

  • gouko787

    Wait, I am getting this right? You are calling the Democrats preachy and divisive?
    You should re-read your own piece. It comes off as preachy and divisive.

  • voter

    Does this woman really, really believe that President Obama is rooting for the demise of America?
    I find that opinion very hard to take seriously. Too bad she didn’t give some
    concrete examples, so I’ll just chalk it up to her opinion….albeit delusional.

    • soccer mom

      Yes, Obama is rooting for the demise of America as our forefathers knew America. He has divided Congress – he was unable to find ways to bring all the sides together. President Clinton worked with a Republican Congress and got a lot accomplished – he knew how to handle the Congress – he was able to bring everyone together to pass many bills and to accomplish much. Obama is also trying to destroy the small businesses; he trying to take away the initiative of people in business. President Clinton knew how to encourage businesses – thus we had a strong economy; lots of tax dollars to work with. Obama is not encouraging industry – he is destroying it – thus our economy keeps going to the dogs – thus there are few tax dollars available to fund all the social programs Obama wants to fund. He should take a page out of President Clinton’s book on how to work with Congress and the business industry.

      • gouko787

        You are paranoid and delusional. But I’ll bet you voted Dubya twice and didn’t say a word as he sold us out. Typical.

        • gofastgo

          Sold us out to whom?

      • GreenLantern

        “rooting for the demise”? That is seriously insane. Our forefathers? flunk history much?
        President Obama has not divided congress. The rethuglicon party has done that. Or have you forgotten mitch mconnel etal says HIS NUMBER ONE PRIORITY IS TO DESTROY OBAMA (paraphrased) That is divisive! More filibusters then in the HISTORY OF THE SENATE. THAT is divisive!
        Putting good bills onto “personhood” bills and then blaming democrats for not passing the good bill. THAT is divisive!
        Putting in bad junk into the health care bill on purpose, pretending to be working with, making it worse then not having the courage to vote for the crap they put into it! THAT is divisive.
        The press is completely against Obama, that LIBRUL media myth does not exist. The press will never help Obama for anything good but will continue to criticize him for things he has no power over. The press liked Clinton and he did not have the hate-wing machine in place today
        Divisive?? Debt Ceiling. you teabaggers want to destroy the economy of the US by turning that into a “battle” THAT HAS NEVER OCCURRED BEFORE! Who is trying to destroy this country? with Citizens United and “money is free speech” and corporations are people?
        You know, people that watch faux news are stupider on current events then people that don’t watch ANY News!
        What hurts Americans more?
        When hate-wingers cheer every bad jobs report, cheer poverty is going up (you know, hungry children?) Yay! Cheer joblessness reports YAY! That is Divisive!
        I bet you have never ever ever looked at a rethug voting record that you voted for.

        • gofastgo

          Questions answered with name calling, liberal thinking to the max, blame blame blame, deny deny deny, Only recently did they finally admit the Libya murders were terrorist acts, only went on to say ‘not pre-planned’ they can’t even admit cover-ups when found to be lying.

          • GreenLantern

            I thought I was giving real world examples. Blame, blame, blame? that sounds just like a watcher of the “news” station that make people stupider than watching no news at all…….
            What the heck does the Libya murders have to do with you horrible, divisive rethuglicans?
            The actual news does not report the lies that you are spouting. If you read or watch real news, you would find that your statement is a falsehood perpetuated by that wonderful “news” the drudge lie, uh hatemachine uh report. Then faux just parrots them if it can help people hate Obama. Keep watching stuff that makes you stupider, the rethug hate machine needs lots and lots of “good soldiers” marching goose stepping into the one party future that you envision where only billionaires rule and you get the dregs. Of course you will blame those evil DEMS! AARGH!

    • gofastgo

      Obama is trying to make America into a Socialist society, not the capitalist ideals that America was built upon. So the answer is YES, he is trying to ‘change’ American dramatically into a government run European style government controlled society.

  • haha too funny, a writer that doesnt cow tow to the political left does have an opinion..and its actually being published, how novel.

  • gofastgo

    I love to read honest journalism by Stamper Brown, a breath of fresh air after wading through the rants of Perry and the rest of his staff at the Sentinel. What I find hard to believe is just how many really unintelligent people live around this area, I must bump into them as I shop, looking back, yes, they are out there.