By John McConnell

On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address. His words about the importance of freedom -- "government of the people, by the people and for the people," gave hope to America and the world.

But there was a fatal flaw in what he said and did. The awful carnage of the Civil War would have been avoided had people on both sides of the issues that divided them adopted the methods of dealing with differences that were demonstrated by early Quakers - and later by India's Ghandi and America's Martin Luther King. They provided a common cause that brought people together for the benefit of all.

I would like Vice President Gore and Governor Bush to answer the question, "Can you two provide a common cause important and strong enough to replace history's long record of human division and violence?" This is what our country and the world needs. This is the way to end bitter partisanship and futile arguments. This is what you should be talking about.

When the amount of money spent on weapons of war is spent on peace education and ventures that foster peace, the whole human family will have a great future. We will eliminate poverty and pollution and see the best in one another. We will join one another in projects to benefit people and planet.

A great common cause can make this happen.

In the Civil War most of the people on both sides claimed to be Christians. So do Bush and Gore. Jesus said, "Agree with your enemy" and showed the way.

That doesn't mean that you agree with something that you don't believe. But if you reach out to others with God's love in your heart and look for important matters in which you agree, you will find a common cause. Focus on that will bring resolution of differences and friendly cooperation.

Let's end the world's long sad history of discord and violence and make taking care of our planet a common cause. Then the new millennium will provide peaceful prosperity -- and a World Without War!

John McConnell - Founder of Earth Day

1933 Woodbine St.
Ridgewoodwood, NY 11385

Phone: 718/366-6963


Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war. . .testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated. . . can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate. . .we cannot consecrate. . . we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us. . .that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. . . that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. . . that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. . . and that government of the people. . .by the people. . .for the people. . . shall not perish from the earth.

President Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863