Honest political discourse seems a faded memory after endless attack ads have sucked the life out of the public spirit this election season.
In "Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer," Fred Kaplan asserts Abraham Lincoln was committed to using political language "honestly and consistently," traits, he adds that "have largely disappeared from our political discourse."
The self-taught 16th President, whose readings spanned Shakespeare, Robert Burns, John Locke, the Bible and Walt Whitman, devoted his life to the belief that words matter. So does the integrity behind words.
His lifelong habit of reading and continuous education schooled him in the power of language, for both honorable and less-than-honorable purposes. He dedicated himself to articulate principles, not dissemble; to clarify, not confuse; to unite, not divide. And he had a sense of humor to boot.