I had the pleasure of attending the 2024 Lincoln Day Dinner, hosted by the Tazewell and Peoria County Republicans on June 1. The annual fundraiser featured a keynote speech by Speaker of the House Mike Johnson. It was an evening filled with hope, motivation, and a clear vision for our country’s future. Following are some of my reflections.

Reflecting on Politicians

Over the last few years, I’ve changed how I think about politicians. It’s easy to judge them based on what little we know about their decisions. It’s also very easy to get caught up in their promises and their ability to follow through. The fact of the matter is: We aren’t in their shoes, and we don’t have all the facts they have. For me, it’s about their intentions, their motives. Do they make decisions for their own political gain, or do they truly work for the good of the people they serve? These decisions must come from a belief in “a higher power.” I believe Speaker Johnson is genuine. He seems to believe in God and keeps his ego in check, as much as any leader can. He appears to make decisions based on what he thinks is best for the people, even if we might not always agree with him. It’s important to trust that he knows things we don’t.

We often hear the same lines being said by politicians and the same type of issues being brought to the table. During the dinner Mike Johnson took time to talk about each of his 7 Core Principles of Conservatism: Fiscal Responsibility, Human Dignity, Limited Government, Free Markets, Individual Freedom, The Rule of Law, and Peace Through Strength. These principles may be familiar to us, but what intrigued me was that he spent the most time on Human Dignity. 

Human Dignity and Equality 

Speaker Johnson spoke fluently about human dignity. He believes that because all men are created equal and in the image of God, every human life has great value. This principle is deeply rooted in our nation’s history. The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Here in Peoria County, Illinois, we feel a deep connection to the principles of human dignity through the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, a leader greatly honored and respected by Speaker Johnson. Lincoln, who spent much of his political career in Illinois, is a powerful example of leadership rooted in the belief that all men are created equal. His Emancipation Proclamation and his dedication to ending slavery were driven by his conviction that every person has inherent worth and deserves freedom and respect.

Speaker Johnson reminded us of Lincoln’s words from his Gettysburg Address, when Lincoln spoke of a “new birth of freedom” and government “of the people, by the people, for the people.” Lincoln’s vision was for a nation where every individual’s dignity is recognized and preserved. Johnson echoed this, emphasizing that our policies and actions must honor the innate value of every person.

The evening was not just about what Speaker Johnson plans to do; it was also a call to action for all of us. He encouraged everyone to get involved in their communities, to vote, and to make their voices heard. He believes that together, we can create a brighter future for America.

Speaker Mike Johnson’s speech was a powerful reminder of what we can achieve when we come together with a shared purpose. His vision for a stronger, safer, and more prosperous America is something we can all strive toward. Let’s take his words to heart and work together to make our country the best it can be.

For more information on Speaker Johnson’s 7 Core Principles of Conservatism, please see https://www.speaker.gov/principles.

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