By David J. Kent
Friday, September 24, 2021
We were "this" close, but note that the Visioning a Better America (VABA) conference will now be fully virtual instead of in-person. Necessitated by the continued COVID pandemic, the House Sergeant of Arms this week cancelled all in-person conferences in all congressional buildings. So VABA, like so many other activities, will now be conducted entirely online. The dates remain the same, October 4th through 8th, 2021.
As mentioned in the previous post on the conference (read the post here), VABA is inspired by Abraham Lincoln's strategic vision, an area of Lincoln's life that Richard Margolies has spent considerable time studying. Lincoln always looked for ways to help people rise up from their circumstances and better their condition. The Lincoln Group agrees with this concept and provided financial and strategic support for the conference. Richard has worked hard to bring the spirit of Lincoln into the values underlying the meeting of the minds.
And what minds there are. The schedule features some of the most prominent thinkers and influencers in the United States. The speakers reflect a diversity of backgrounds, interests, and areas of involvement. They have been successful in each of their main focal areas, and bring to the table experiences that can help develop a path toward a better America.
But the real keys are the people. As Richard notes:
Only citizens can change society. People’s ideas can change and sometimes change rapidly. A vision provides ideas to focus change and policies that lead toward a desired future. As we face new challenges, this conference will work toward a vision, based on the best in America and our founding values, to inspire action and realistic hope for a better future.
Lincoln understood the power of the citizenry to affect change; "public sentiment is everything," he noted. It is the people who hold the power to envision an America that reflects the Declaration of Independence's core principle that "all men are created equal." The VABA conference seeks to meld the great thinkers of today's society with the power of citizen action to continue on our path to a more perfect Union.
Lincoln features prominently in Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi's welcoming statement. He references Lincoln's Lyceum address against mob violence, Lincoln's emphasis on infrastructure, and the designation of the Lincoln Room in the Capitol resulting from a bipartisan coalition with Darin LaHood and which the Lincoln Group of DC played a significant role in making happen.
So check out the Visioning a Better America website for information and how to watch the full program on YouTube from October 4 through 8, 2021. Thank Richard Margolies for the amazing work he has put in over the past few years organizing this event, especially through the complications of a pandemic. And, of course, always think: What would Lincoln do?