Larry Arnn speaks at Branch County Repub­lican event. Curtesy|Wikimedia

Hillsdale College Pres­ident Larry Arnn was the keynote speaker Friday at the Branch County Repub­lican Party’s 124th Annual Lincoln Day dinner in Dearth Com­munity Center in Cold­water, Michigan. Arnn spoke about Lincoln’s strong lead­ership and how society should follow his example today.

“He was a beau­tiful human being, also he was great because he got the chance where it would either fail or be glo­rious,” Arnn said. “That was not the first time our country had been in that spot. It was the second and this is the third, where we are tonight.”

The Lincoln Day dinner is hosted annually by the Branch County Repub­lican Party and this year’s event included four other guest speakers, Chair of Michigan GOP Laura Cox, U.S. rep­re­sen­tative Tim Walberg, state senator Mike Shirkey, and state rep­re­sen­tative Eric Leutheuser.

Arnn used Aristotle’s four causes to compare the country’s current sit­u­ation with that of Lincoln’s time. He said how pur­suing the prin­ciple of equality, the final cause, was the crisis during Lincoln’s pres­i­dency, and how this issue is rel­evant to that of today’s. With current politi­cians only favoring those agreeing with their beliefs and shunning those who do not, the prin­ciple of equality becomes lost and less of a safe­guard in human history, but fol­lowing it can be regained if Lincoln’s example in lead­ership and per­se­verance is fol­lowed, Arnn said.

“If we love the right things and study them, and we shine our char­acter so that courage is in us, then in God’s good time we’re going to fix all of this and we’re going to be like the gen­er­ation that founded this party,” Arnn said.

After Arnn’s speech, attendees said they became hopeful for the country’s future improving when con­sid­ering its present sit­u­ation. Hillsdale College sophomore and Vice Pres­ident of College Repub­licans Aidan Wheeler said the speech was great because it implied the impor­tance in reading and studying the writings of Lincoln.

For Pres­ident of College Repub­licans junior Patrick Farrell, he said Arnn’s reminder inspired him that good can still come out of seem­ingly hopeless times.

“You never know what to expect every time you hear Dr. Arnn talk, because he always adds some­thing new to it and I always get some­thing more out of it,” Farrell said. “It some­times seems like we can never attain the gov­ernment we had before, but Arnn’s speech brought the message that things can be that way again as long as we keep up the good fight.”

Freshmen Jacob Hooper said he was rather sur­prised at the rel­evant appli­cation of Lincoln’s values in today’s world and how important it is to remain faithful in the good fight, just as Lincoln did.

“There were a lot of people wanting to kill Lincoln, but he didn’t give up. He went fought through it and the chal­lenges encom­passing it. Not to be cliche or any­thing, but strength rejoices in the chal­lenge,” Hooper said. “It’s just important to remain strong and push through what we believe is right for everybody, and if we stay true to that hope­fully we can see a rea­sonable solution to the end of our current con­sti­tu­tional crisis.”

Though Hooper expected an analysis of Lincoln’s lead­ership styles, he said he was glad that Arnn brought up this serious topic while remaining sen­ti­mental about Lincoln.

“Arnn called Lincoln a true American, espe­cially through his fight for equality, and it’s some­thing that we should keep in mind today because we don’t think that we need to push for equality as much anymore, but essen­tially we still have to fight for what’s good and for what it truly means to be an American. And I think Lincoln really ecom­passed that,” Hooper said.

From this speech, Farrell said he hoped people remember their sense of duty to help this country and to remain steadfast to its foun­da­tional beliefs.

“It def­i­nitely inspired me,” Farrell said. “If you really believe in these things, to go out there and to give of yourself, make some­thing of yourself, and they’ll end up fighting the good fight. It takes some self-sac­rifice and courage, but at the end of the day it’s worth it.”