Archive for the ‘Healing’ Category

“American Press has Turned Into a Joke” Comparing Obama To FDR, Lincoln

November 19, 2008

“Barack Obama is just like Lincoln,” a youthful and eager fan reported to me.

And I thought: except for the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address, the preservation of the Union and his record as President of the United States.

Bill Sammon of the Washington Examiner said, “The American press has turned into a joke by comparing Barack Obama to FDR and Abraham Lincoln.  They do him no favor by raising expectations to a level that is not achievable.”

Barack Obama, the first ever black man elected to America’s highest office, should be honored for sure; but we should also put our regard for him in proper perspective and watch how the next four years transpire.

Barack Obama is still, to me, a potential agent of manifest change: and not yet a historically overpowering figure we honor for his many accomplishments.

Oh I agree with others that the election of a Black American is historic and memorable; but while it says a lot about our new President-elect it says more to me about the American people.

The notion that Barack Obama is, in many ways, “Linconesque,” is at least premature and could seem a tad bizarre, especially to historians seeking meaning, accomplishments and proven character.

Obama has not yet managed through his Cuban Missile Crisis, his Vietnam War, his Great Depression or whatever real crises we can anticipate — and even whatever nobody could ever anticipate like George W. Bush’s “Nine Eleven.”

Yet both Lincoln and Obama certainly share Illinois and a place in history.  Lincoln’s place in history is “writ large.”  We do not yet know if Barack Obama is a chapter or two of history; or just a paragraph or two. 

President-elect Barack Obama answers a journalist's question ... 
President-elect Barack Obama answers a journalist’s question during his first press conference following his election victory in Chicago, November 7, 2008.(John Gress/Reuters)

Barack Obama grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia. He graduated from  Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was president of the Harvard Law Review.

Obama is an “indoorsman,” who wrote two books about himself and arguably became addicted to his BlackBerry.

Lincoln was an outdoorsman who grew up in a log cabin in the rough “west” of the United States in his time, including Kentucky and Illinois.

Wikipedia says “Lincoln struck out on his own, canoeing down the Sangamon River to the village of New Salem in Sangamon County. Later that year, hired by New Salem businessman Denton Offutt and accompanied by friends, he took goods from New Salem to New Orleans via flatboat on the Sangamon, Illinois and Mississippi rivers.”

Lincoln’s formal education consisted of about 18 months of schooling, but he was largely self-educated and an avid reader. He was also a talented local wrestler and skilled with an axe.

Barack Obama is skilled with a computer keyboard, a teleprompter, and as a very eloquent public speaker and, though I myself have been moved by the style of many Obama speeches, the next day I have found something sometimes lacking. Yet like some of Mister Lincoln’s orations and remarks, Mr. Obama’s speeches are filled with “hope” and “change.”

Obama's speech earned him praise from politicians on the left and right. But not everyone was impressed.

Above: Barack Obama before a crowd in Germany. Photo: Getty Images
Lincoln participated in the most studied and recalled political debates ever held in America.

Barack Obama’s debates with John McCain will be recalled for one thing only: Obama became the elected president.

“I don’t think we need any big media-run productions, no processed questions from reporters, no spin rooms, just two Americans running for the highest office in the greatest nation on earth responding to the concerns of the people who’s trust that we must earn,” John McCain said well before the debates with Barack Obama.

Famously, McCain said he wanted ten “Lincoln-Douglas” style debates with Barack Obama.

The nation ended up with far fewer than ten debates and not one came close to resembling the famed and historic Lincoln-Douglas debates.

But the world is a different place now and our national attention span and will to concentrate is short for good reasons, even though we are multitasking…

Creators Syndicate

Oprah Already Has Dress For Obama's Inauguration
Access Hollywood

Barack Obama and his wife Michelle are pretty much comfortable everywhere — from public speaking in Germany to Bill Ayers house and onward to Oprah’s TV show and to Hollywood.

Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd, which many historians believe was at least “on the edge” and probably crazy, were famously uncomfortable in most settings.  Many Hollywood and TV people today say that Lincoln’s looks would probably make him unelectable today.

Lincoln mourned the loss of one of his own children: and he watched in horror as Civil War casualties bled the nation white.  He even took the time to pen a letter to a grieving mother who lost five sons in “Lincoln’s war.”

Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln’s most famous oration, the Gettysburg Address, took just two minutes to deliver.  For more than a century, American school children memorized this magnificent piece of writing and oration, one of the finest speeches ever given in America, some say, and all in less than 280 words.

On the day of that address, Lincoln was not the featured speaker, who droned on for some time.  But nobody without a deep history education can even recall the man who delivered his remarks before Lincoln on Thursday, November 19, 1863, at the cemetery in Gettysburg.

Soldiers National Cemetery, Gettysburg

Lincoln freed the slaves and preserved the Union.  So far, Obama freed the media and the electorate of the feeling and belief that racism kept good men of color from key posts.

Lincoln was unafraid of firing his top generals — and then while U.S. Grant was gaining ground and winning battles and his staff said the man was a drunk, Lincoln issued an order to send Grant a case of his favorite spirits, or so the story is told.

Lincoln in the field during the Civil War

Lincoln had to sneak into Washington DC for his inauguration.  Obama will be greeted by a throng of millions.

Lincoln assembled a cabinet that was a train wreck of disagreement to the point of dysfunction.  Some in the media today say that Obama is emulating Lincoln’s ability to be “inclusive” in his cabinet selections.

But Lincoln did famously “reach out” to all great leaders who could help him including the Catholic Archbishop of New York, “Dagger” John Hughes.

Linoln also gave a seemingly open door to the White House to Abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who pushed President Lincoln to create and issue the Emancipation Proclamation — against the advice of many including his top military commanders.

Above: Frederick Douglass, in about 1879.

Above:  Lincoln met with his cabinet on July 22, 1862 for the first reading of a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Barack Obama’s challenges have yet to unfold.

Lincoln’s challenges were manifest.

History has judged Lincoln.  Obama’s first full chapter, now, at least in part, well chronicled by eager contemporary media scribes, is mostly still a way off for historians to evaluate.

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia
November 19, 2008


The Topeka Capitol Journal began an article on November 9, 2008 with, “Plans are being made to promote a national holiday for Barack Obama, who will become the nation’s 44th president when he takes the oath of office Jan. 20.”

My Vietnamese American relatives say, “We seem to have the Easter before the Palm….”

Lincoln’s Day, once celebrated on his birthday, is now largely forgotten and squeezed out by the celebration of other great Americans like Martin Luther King.  Frederick Douglass has no day at all. It might be prudent to hold off on the “Barack Obama Day” just a tad….

Barack Obama Needs To Know: Lincoln’s Dysfuncional Cabinet Was Not Your Mother’s A-Team
 Frederick Douglass: Turning Points
“Most Famous” Lincoln Letter of Civil War Found?


The Healing Impact of Music

October 24, 2007

Appropriately her name is “Joy.”  Joy Allen is an Angel from Heaven that brings music and healing to those who are ill and in need.

By Doug Dickerson
The Independent •
Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Harvey Pinckney sits on the edge of his bed, the sound of, ‘Just A Closer Walk with Thee’ resonates through the room, his foot taps to the beat on the floor, Pinckney sings along.

Joy Allen is not there to just sing or entertain; she is an integral part of patient care.

As the music plays, and the hymn is sung, a therapy session is under way.

Allen routinely calls on patients each day at Trident Hospital. Her patient care rounds may take her from oncology seeing cancer patients, or to the neo-natal unit to see premature babies, but Allen is there to minister healing wherever she goes.

As a valuable part of the team of caregivers for patients, she does not wear a stethoscope around her neck, nor write prescriptions. Her medicine of choice can be gospel music, R & B, 60’s, 70’s, jazz or any of the standard songs. She has hundreds to choose from.

Allen’s instrument of healing is administered through her voice as she sings and her hands as she plays the guitar. Allen, a board certified music therapist, is the music therapy coordinator at Trident Hospital. The program began a little over two years ago at Trident and is the only program of its kind at any area hospital.

Each day, Allen and her two interns, Cara Batema and Amber Crawford, see patients who may be at end-of-life stages with their illnesses or tiny infants in the neo-natal unit. Since the inception of the program, the response from patients and staff has been overwhelmingly positive.

“We have more referrals than we can meet,” says Allen.

The individual attention given to a patient during a music therapy session is an integral part of a patients care. Michelle Horton, a registered nurse and Oncology Director says that the therapy sessions make a huge difference in their cases with oncology patients.

“I can see a huge difference with the patients with their therapy. My staff loves to walk the hall and hear them singing in the rooms,” she said. Music therapy sessions may involve creating, improvising, listening to, and/or performing music, depending on the patients needs.

Allen and her staff take an individualized approach to patient care and will incorporate music in the session based upon the patient’s strength’s, preferences, cultural background, and spiritual beliefs. A music therapy session may last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on the patient.

Allen says that since the demand for music therapy services is so high within the hospital, patients are seen on a priority basis according to need.

The medicinal value of the care that is provided is immeasurable.

Elizabeth Friendly, an oncology nurse says that as a nurse, she can only jab a patient so many times, but when the music therapists come it’s a tremendous input.

“They look forward to them coming and coming back, music is a universal healer. When everything else has been taken away from them with regards to their health, no matter how sick they may be, music is the one thing that they can enjoy,” she said.

Allen says the spiritual element of music therapy is a strong component to the patient care she provides. “There are times in the sessions we will write songs, especially in a end-of-life situation and that is given as a gift to the family or as a celebration of the persons life,” she said.

Tom Glisson, Director of Pastoral Care at Trident Hospital says that the program has been very warmly received throughout the hospital. “The program h as taken off like gangbusters. It’s very beneficial; the patients not only enjoy it but they also therapeutically benefit from it. Music is a powerful medium and invokes a lot of memories and is relational between the patient, the therapist and the music. It’s not the same as playing a CD or radio.

A music therapist is trained from a spiritual approach,” he said. Music therapy allows a person to focus on the parts of themselves that are healthy, creative, and expressive, no matter how ill one may be.

Through the patient/therapist relationship that develops with and through the music, a healthy space is created allowing for needed physical, emotional, and/or spiritual change to take place. This in turn, allows for the patient to live his or her life rather than focusing completely on the illness. Allen says that in addition to sessions with patients, she may also have sessions with the extended family to help them cope with the illness of their loved one.

“The fighting spirit is so important to their care, we are the ones they can come to for support and cry with,” said Allen.

After ‘Just a Closer Walk with Thee’, Crawford sits next to Pinckney as Batema joins them in singing the old classic, ‘I’ll Fly Away’ and close with ‘How Great Thou Art’.

“I really enjoy it, it lifts me up. When she (Allen) brings it, I feel it. Some can sing it but not feel it, she makes me feel good,” he said.