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Perspective: Words left unsaid can speak volumes

Lincoln Douglas
Joseph Novak
Lincoln/Douglas debate statue

Sometimes, what a politician does not say is just as important as what he or she says. In that spirit, I'd like to pay tribute to a famed Illinoisan from the mid-1800s.

He was well-known for his debating skills, and many of those debates took place in Illinois. In fact, he is buried here, with an impressive tomb and monument to his legacy.

He ran for the presidency at a time when the nation was about to plunge into a war unlike any other. His views were shared by millions of Americans.

But he would never occupy the office of President. Known as the “Little Giant,” Stephen Douglas would return home and would, at the request of newly-elected President Abraham Lincoln, rally his fellow Americans to the Union's cause.

And here is where Stephen Douglas cemented his legacy, by what he didn't do. He NEVER praised Confederate President Jefferson Davis as being savvy, smart, or a genius.

But if those words seem to have a familiar ring, in all likelihood you are thinking of another, far more recent politician. And that individual will never hold a candle to the Little Giant.

I'm Jim Kline, and that is my Perspective.

DeKalb County resident Jim Kline grew up in Genoa and earned a B.S. in Communications from the University of Illinois and an M.S. in Outdoor Teacher Education from Northern Illinois University.