The Thought for the Day/Gore Vidal

It was Chase’s view that men who get what they want in the world seldom die, prematurely, of pneumonia in Chicago.
Gore Vidal

Both Lincoln, a historical novel, and its author, Gore Vidal (1925-2012) have been featured here before, and we will dispense with the usual introductory paragraph. The Chase referred to in today’s Thought is Salmon P Chase, who served as secretary of the treasury under Lincoln, at least until Lincoln kicked him upstairs to the Supreme Court, where he performed ably as chief justice. The person dying prematurely is Stephen Douglas, a politician from Illinois who served his state and nation honorably in a variety of roles. Douglas and Lincoln were long rivals: for the hand of Mary Todd in marriage (won by Lincoln), for the United States Senate (won by Douglas) and for the presidency (won by Lincoln), a prize Douglas had long coveted but whose chase came up short, losing to Lincoln, among others, in the presidential election of 1860. Douglas died a few months after sitting on the podium for Lincoln’s inauguration, his life’s goal denied him.

Dreams coming true and getting what you want in this life is not reserved for those we read about in history books or see on TV. They are there for anyone willing to learn what they are about, form a plan for their lives that comes from deep inside and work that plan with diligence and courage.

Key is to avoid getting caught up in external forces. The only thing worth striving for is living from the inside out because only that leads to our path, which in turn leads to the life we were meant to live.

…men who get what they want in the world…

There is no reason that can’t be us because getting what we want in this world is not reserved for those you read about in history books or see on TV. It is there, almost for the taking, for anyone willing to look inside themselves to see what they are about, willing to form a plan for their life and willing to work that plan with courage, diligence and patience.

When we do this, simultaneously avoiding the traps set by outside influences, we will make our time serve us. Douglas had narrowed his existence down to one thing, winning the presidency, and when that didn’t happen for him, and was plain it never would, his mind told his body to stop bothering, it’s all over.

Of course, we must strive. It’s human nature. But we must strive because the compulsion comes from deep inside us because only this leads to the life we were meant to live. Everything else superfluous.  

Quotes are from Gaylon’s personal quote book, begun in 1988 in a hotel room in Berkeley, California.

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