by Gov. Mike Huckabee
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November to be a "Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father." Since I am a preacher who loves to expound upon written texts, I want to share with you an excerpt of this proclamation:
In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.
Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence [sic] have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battle-field, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.
No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and with one voice, by the whole American people.
When I read these words, I was floored by President Lincoln's optimism.
By the time that Mr. Lincoln had issued this proclamation, more than 350,000 men from both the North and the South had died in bitter fighting—at a time when the national population was only 30 million. (It would get even worse; another 300,000 would die before the war's end.) Still, the President remained positive during a time of crisis. Even though the country was falling apart right before his eyes, Mr. Lincoln still could find a reason to give thanks to Almighty God.
Today, we have serious problems in our country; there is no denying this fact. The threat of terrorism is real. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have divided our nation. The economy has been weakened by high gasoline prices, rampant foreclosures, and a weakened U.S. dollar. On top of this, respect for traditional moral values, such as marriage and family, are under assault from the left-wing elements of our society.
Despite these problems, I remain hopeful. I truly believe that America's best days are still ahead of her. And for this, I am thankful to God.
I am thankful that one day the war on terror will end, not because we have lost, but because we have won!
I am thankful that one day our economy will rebound, not because of governmental micro-management, but as a result of America's entrepreneurial resolve.
I am thankful that one day the born and the unborn will be equal under the eyes of the law in every state.
Now I can't promise you that these goals will be achieved in my lifetime or even in yours. I cannot predict the future. However, I can promise you that if I am entrusted with the office that was once held by Abraham Lincoln, I will fight to restore America's collective optimism.
America needs a President who is not moved by what he sees. Instead, America needs a President who will be moved by what he sees in his heart.
What I see in my heart for this great country can hardly be expressed with words. But with your continued prayers and support, I pray that I will be able to express these ideals through my actions as President.
Thank you. God bless you. God bless America.
And, before I forget, happy Thanksgiving.