To the Editor:
In the book, “The Wit & Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln,” James Humes tells a story about Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s secretary of war, rushing into the president’s office.
Stanton was livid over a letter he’d received from a major general.
Setting him down at his desk, Lincoln
urged him to write a response. Lincoln pressed Stanton to “Stick it to him … Scorch the General … Really scold him.”
After Stanton finished, Lincoln grabbed the letter and ripped it up. Stanton was confused and asked why the president had done that.
Lincoln said: “You don’t want to send that letter, Stanton. Put it in the stove. That’s what I do when I’ve written a letter when I’m angry. It’s a humdinger of a letter and you’ve had a hell of a good time writing it. Now burn it and write another letter.”
I think about the above incident whenever I hear about our current president’s latest tweet. What a yawning gap exists between Lincoln’s letter writing and President Donald Trump’s tweeting. How different our time could’ve been if Trump had tweeted like Lincoln wrote letters: Disciplined with emotions held in check.
Now, our president’s inflammatory tweets about North Korea might endanger millions of lives on the Korean Peninsula and in Japan. Many people are questioning his strategy and his sanity.
One of the four books on Lincoln’s White House desk would’ve suggested Trump change course. A quote from it said: “A fool gives full vent to anger, but the wise quietly holds it back.”