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Is Obama a Man of Destiny?
By Deepak Chopra, MD, co-author with Rudolph Tanzi of Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being. (Harmony)


The historical movie "Lincoln" has struck a deep chord with many people, and it turns on a theme that is rarely met nowadays: the man of destiny. In one scene Lincoln is sitting in the war room from which he oversaw the very mixed fortunes of the Northern armies. There is no one with him except his two young secretaries. He asks one, "Do you think we choose to be born?" the secretary says that he doesn't think so.

Lincoln pursues the topic. "Do you think we are fitted for the times?" The secretary can't quite fathom the question. To the best of my recollection he replies, "I don't know. Maybe you are." In fact, when you look at the historical record, Lincoln was considered to be absolutely fitted to his time. He was Father Abraham and after his assassination a secular saint. The chaotic forces that tore the Civil War era apart were gathered in his hands. He and many around him saw a man of destiny who was fated to end slavery and bend the future to his will.

Heroism still appeals to us, and the saintliness of Lincoln can't be erased, despite the film's accurate portrayal of him as a canny, down-to-earth politician who knew how to broker a deal. But we find it hard to think in terms of destiny. Tony Kushner, the scriptwriter for "Lincoln," chose a more modest phrase: fitted to the times. Kushner wove our present predicament into his screenplay. Chaotic forces are swirling around us; the nation has reached a turning point that feels threatening at the same time. There is a widespread yearning for leadership.

I wonder if President Obama's re-election is a shoulder tap from destiny. Lincoln felt that way about his second term. We see him fiercely focused on abolishing slavery because the Emancipation Proclamation had been tested by the people, as he put it, when they chose to keep him in office. I have a feeling that Obama is gathering his own convictions for the same reason.

This is more than George Bush's notion that his re-election, which was by a slimmer margin than Obama's, both in popular vote and electoral tally, gave him political capital. What we see in Lincoln's time are politicians, heated by partisan fury, milling about in confusion. The heel of history is hard on their necks. Their passions rise and fall with every turn of the war. Lincoln was different. He understood that he was the still point at the center, the one mind whose clarity and judgment must save the day - or it wouldn't be saved.

History proved him right. At the end of the movie we get a flashback to the Second Inaugural Address, the greatest piece of oratory from Lincoln after the Gettysburg Address. It constitutes a heroic, compassionate attempt to shape the future according to the ideals of Christianity and democracy. The final paragraph has long been considered a masterstroke, and it is astonishingly fitted to our times:

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on 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.

Obama has been repeating the theme of tolerance and fairness for four years, and it has mostly fallen on deaf ears. Lincoln was beloved but also reviled; he could have gone down in history as a divisive leader more than a uniting one. The difference wasn't up to him. As he saw it, destiny worked through him. It will be fascinating to watch and see if the same historical force is about to push America forward once more.

 

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Comments

No. Deep by name and Deep by nature. It is his responsibility to tell it like he thinks it is. Freedom of speech is lacking these days. Television (news) is a big disinformation machine which has taken over from speaking for the average person. We are lazy if we forget to have an opinion. We are stupid if we leave it up to \'controlled\'media.
Ghita - December 29, 2012
You\'ve succeeded in seperating the judgers from the nonjudgers. Your right as always while fear lingers on.
Michele Tysarczyk Aggers - December 29, 2012
Wow, I used to hold Deepak in such high esteem. I respect his knowledge and experience with metaphysics, and meditation, but fear that a balance with reality has been lost after reading this article.
Jeff Albright - December 29, 2012
Deepak: Robin Hood, was made out to be a good thought, to take from a person of abundance & give to the needy, Although putting the thought of a person with wealth out to be a bad thing was a path a lot of people choice `in way of handouts`. It is clearly another thing for a Government to take from people who have earned whatever wealth they see fit for there needs & share their wealth with people that have choosing there way of life. We all know that giving is the best feeling on earth or there would be no Christmas. The way to abundance is threw giving. People will always help others in need, we don`t a Government to demand that right for us or punish us for living the abundant life. God has distilled sharing in us at birth.
dan - December 29, 2012
Is destiny not working through each and every one of us?
Jon Amato - December 29, 2012
Most definitely! I am praying the voice of the people that believe in him and his staff, will be heard this time..
Rebecca Mae Evans - December 29, 2012
Methinks you\'re being a little over dramatic over a little political opinion. He said destiny is working through the guy. Not that you\'d love everything he ever did.
David Fooks - December 29, 2012
Deepak, why do you keep promoting obama as a man of desiltiny? Do you know nothing of the facts surrounding 911? When I see obama speak of these facts and go after the true villains rather than taking credit for taking down a man who couldn\'t possibly be involved, I will believe you. In th mean time if I see you glorify him again, I will have to accept you a a false proffit and unlike you on facebook, and I will not trust nothing you say anymore,...
Rick LeDuc - December 28, 2012
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