“You know what we’ve done lately? We’ve made a sport of criticizing politicians. We’ve made a sport of attacking them (politicians).”
“And we are angry, and I’m thinking: is this the time to remind you that we live in a democracy? YOU VOTED FOR THESE PEOPLE! WE VOTED FOR PEOPLE!”
In 2013, Dr. Tyson was approached by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation about writing a speech that reflected his perspective on how Abraham Lincoln’s legacy has helped shape our world. The speech’s only limitation was that it had to match the word count of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which was 272 words in length.
“So if you have issues with the head of state, the head of county… if you have issues, your issues are not with the politician. Your issues are with your fellow voters. Because if you have a dysfunctional government, it’s because you have a dysfunctional electorate.”
“So I, and an educator and a scientist, [am] almost duty-bound to ignore the politicians, because they’re duly elected. I will go to the electorate and say: here is what science is and how and why it works and here is why you can become empowered thinking that way. Now take it, and fold it into your politics or your religion or your personal philosophies. That’s how that really should happen.”
SPRINGFIELD, IL – “Is there anyone left in the town?” This was the opening question posed by famed astrophysicist and science educator Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson to the overflowing audience in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on Friday, March 10, 2017. The crowd was filled with fans, students and seekers of knowledge and as Dr. Tyson took the stage the roar of applause ushered in what would be a presentation that would enlighten and entertain the eager spectators and participants.
Dr. Tyson read his 272-word essay titled “The Lincoln Seedbed” from the book “Gettysburg Replies: The World Responds to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address” in an open presentation to the public, followed by a question and answer session with the audience, including local high school students.
Video Source: WICS ABC Newschannel 20 Facebook upload
Following Dr. Tyson’s recitation of “The Lincoln Seedbed” he conducted a very engaging question and answer session with the audience, especially the younger members who he was eager to inspire. Dr. Tyson fielded questions from the audience and gave a captivating and animated presentation.
When an audience member exclaimed “why don’t you run for president?” Dr. Tyson responded with a polite no. He went on to explain that he was asked a similar question by the New York Times during a congressional impasse among a host of other governmental problems; “what would you do if you were president?” What followed was his detailed and ardent response.His reply was “If I were President, I wouldn’t be President. Here’s why: To even think that way implies that all the problems we have are because of dysfunctional politicians, and that all you need to do is swap one out, put in someone better and everything will be fine.”
“… science is true whether you believe in it or not.” “… when people are fighting about what is actually true when we know what is true, I.. I don’t know what country that is… but what I do know, is that it’s the beginning of the end of an informed democracy.”
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The Seedbed (via Science)[i]
“One and a half centuries ago, Civil War divided these United States of America. Yet in its wake, we would anneal as one nation, indivisible.
During the bloody year of his Gettysburg Address, President Lincoln chartered the National Academy of Sciences—comprised of fifty distinguished American researchers whose task was then, as now, to advise Congress and the Executive Branch of all ways the frontier of science may contribute to the health, wealth, and security of its residents.
As a young nation, just four score and seven years old, we had plucked the engineering fruits of the Industrial Revolution that transformed Europe, but Americans had yet to embrace the meaning of science to society.
Now with more than two thousand members, the National Academy encompasses dozens of fields undreamt of at the time of Lincoln's charter. Quantum Physics, discovered in the 1920s, now drives nearly one third of the world's wealth, forming the basis for our computer revolution in the creation, storage, and retrieval of information. And as we continue to warm our planet, Climatology may be our only hope to save us from ourselves.
During the centennial of its charter, President Kennedy addressed the Academy membership, noting, “The range and depth of scientific achievement in this room constitutes the seedbed of our nation's future.”
In this, the twenty-first century, innovations in science and technology form the primary engines of economic growth. While most remember honest Abe for war and peace, and slavery and freedom, the time has come to remember him for setting our Nation on a course of scientifically enlightened governance, without which we all may perish from this Earth.”
[i] America's science legacy (Editorial) Neil deGrasse Tyson Science 20 Nov 2015: Vol. 350, Issue 6263, pp. 891 DOI: 10.1126/science.aad8408 http://science.sciencemag.org/content/350/6263/891.full
Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson visits Lincoln Museum and assures everyone that he does NOT want to be President.
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