In my book, Restoring Civility, I reported a great quote from Abraham Lincoln. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed March 30 to be a national day of fasting, humility, and prayer. He declared: “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hands which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God who made us! It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
President Lincoln was known for his civility. Some people call him “Honest Abe.”
His likeness is found on the U.S. penny—the most fundamental element of the currency that reflects your crystallized sweat.
Look at the front of the penny. You will find President Lincoln. That is your heritage. Look at the top. It says, “In God We Trust.” That is your hope. Look to the left. It says, “Liberty.” That is your gift. Look at the back of the penny. It begins with the word, “United.” That requires civility.
The call for civility is not new. It is a reoccurring cycle. Your greatest achievement is who you are and who you become. Culture does not live in a constitution, or in bylaws, or on a plaque on the wall. Nor even on the currency. Culture lives in people. People like you. It is people who impact people.