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Vail Valley Voices: Like Lincoln? Not so much

Dick Gustafson
Vail, CO, Colorado

Abraham Lincoln said: “At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge,in a trial of a thousand years.

“At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

Whenever I hear about President Obama cloaking himself with imagined similarity to President Lincoln, it makes me want to throw up. The internal enemy Lincoln could be describing is Obama himself. It is he that will bring the destruction of our freedoms and our Constitution, from within.

Let me share an anecdote. When I was boy living in Galveston, Texas, across from the sea wall, I used to watch the men fishing from the beach into the Gulf of Mexico. I remember one who had a bucket of live crabs he used as bait. As I watched the crabs attempt to escape the bucket, I told the fisherman. He told me something I’ll never forgot.

“Don’t worry,” he said. “Whenever one gets close to the top of the bucket, the others will pull him back.”

I watched for a while and sure enough, not one escaped the bucket.

The reason I tell that story is because it describes what Obama does. If one succeeds or a company becomes too successful, he attempts to pull them back into the bucket with higher taxes, more regulations or whatever other form of punishment he can create — in the name of “fairness,” of course.

As a young man working in San Francisco, I listened to a morning radio show host named Don Sherwood.

He told a story about a young teacher who asked her young students a question: “How many of you think everyone should get the same grade in this class for this semester?” A majority of the hands went up, except for the better students.

“OK we’ll try it,” she said. “From this point on we will all receive the same grade.”

As the semester progressed, the lower students, for whatever reason, figured the good students would carry them through for at least a C. The better students decided to slack off because there was no incentive for the extra effort. At the end of the semester, everyone received the same grade. Each student received an F on his/her report card.

The teacher then asked for another vote. “Now, how many would like to receive the same grade?”

This time over three-quarters of the students voted to get the grade each earned. Only those who felt they would benefit from the efforts of others, still voted for the equal grades. The teacher went back to the original grading system. Point made.

Today she would probably be fired for teaching the value of working harder for success, because the Progressives (and the demonstrating “99 percenters”) would be upset and consider it to be politically incorrect.

After the original Continental Congresses, Benjamin Franklin was asked “What type of government did you form?”

Franklin replied: “A republic, if you can keep it.”

I am truly worried for this country, and everyone should be as concerned as Franklin was. The recipients of too much welfare won’t work and the Obama government only encourages this behavior while punishing those who strive for excellence. That, plus Obama still does not understanding that you can’t spend your way to prosperity — just look at his joke of a proposed budget.

This will be my last editorial for several reasons, none of which involve being intimidated. For those of you who offered constructive criticism to my past editorials, I respect your intellect, your thoughts and the time you took to respond.

For those of you who just became angry name callers and-or resorted to character assissination because of your lack of intellect, failure to research the subjects or you had no defense for your positions, you are true Progressives, and I pity you.

For the majority of you who respect your freedoms, thank you for reading my opinions and for your caring support.

Dick Gustafson, of Vail, is a former Eagle County commissioner.


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