Writing Prompt: The Better Angels of Our Nature

This has undoubtedly been a big year for Honest Abe. Daniel Day-Lewis’ portrayal of the beloved American icon in this year’s best picture nominee Lincoln certainly reinserted our wondrous 14th president back into the national dialogue. And with Canada eliminating their use of the penny — sparking talks of America needing to do the same — there’s a good chance we might never see his likeness on a coin again. Thankfully, his face is still stoically displayed on the five dollar bill, so we won’t have to part with those prominent cheekbones on our money just yet. It being President’s Day, this man after our own hearts makes for some great writing inspiration.

In his inaugural address on March 4th 1861, Lincoln said:

We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

The better angels of our nature. What a beautiful concept. If you ask me, what Lincoln managed to articulate in one poetic phrase were qualities such as patience, compassion, empathy, good communication, trust, nobility, and kindness. Impressively condensed into a few beautiful words are those concepts and traits every citizen should have in order to perpetuate an America of tolerance, unity, and intelligent dialogue.

What are the “better angels” of your or your character’s nature?  Why are they so important? And the devils — what are those? I know what mine are, let’s hear from you or your character.