[FOUNTAIN]Time for Bush to bind up the woundsThe hostility-filled U.S. presidential race has finally come to the end. Incumbent President George W. Bush has been re-elected. The 2004 election was one of the most intense battles in the 215 years of U.S. history. It was not an exaggeration to call it a political civil war. In his next term, the president needs to bind up the wounds in the electorate. He should also understand that the American president has become a deciding factor in the fate of the world.
The president can learn from his predecessor, Abraham Lincoln. While President Lincoln defeated the Confederacy in the Civil War, he realized that being a winner or a loser was meaningless when hostility and fear dominated.
“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive to finish the work we are in: to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations,” Mr. Lincoln said in his second inaugural address.
President Lincoln devoted all his time and energy to defeat the Confederacy, but the purpose of the war was national unification and reconciliation. The war was a means to the goal. He never confused the means with the end.
His own party criticized him for being lukewarm on the post-war handling of the South. From the beginning, he did not see the war as a contest of justice versus injustice, or good versus evil. The noble ideology to free the slaves was a secondary issue. His primary goal was to bring the seceded states back into the Union and to create a strong United States of America. He was also careful of self-righteousness of justifying his beliefs in the name of God.
President Lincoln said, “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other... the prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.” In “Roh Moo-hyun Meets Lincoln,” the Korean president called President Lincoln a modest leader with humble power.
The greatness of Lincoln does not originate from the victories in war or elections. We hope Mr. Bush can display such greatness not only to his own nation but to the citizens of the world.
by Chun Young-gi
The writer is a deputy political news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.