A Republic, if You Can Keep It

When Benjamin Franklin left Independence Hall at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, one of the anxious citizens gathered outside, a Mrs. Powell, asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got?” Immediately, he replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Well, so far we have.

We have kept it for a number of fundamental reasons. One reason is the peaceful transfer of power. When a winner is declared in an election, the other side is not happy, of course, but its adherents accept the voters’ will and begin the task of strengthening their party in order to regain power in the next election.

Another reason is the basic trust that the people have in their fellow countrymen, in the press, and in their government. They believe, and they are willing to accept their inherited approach to governance. None always gets what he/she wants, but basically everyone trusts that the system itself still functions as established by the Founding Fathers. As Thomas Jefferson said, Here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead nor to tolerate any error as long as reason is left free to combat it." A third fundamental reason is that Americans have been committed to and willing to obey the laws that govern us. The law is the law, and we believe that we should obey the law even though at times we do not agree with it. Since the founding of our nation, Americans have believed that basically our laws are good for them, for their friends and neighbors, and for their country.

Of course, these previously mentioned tenets are not the only ones that account for our becoming a great nation, but they are fundamental and indispensable to our becoming what we have become. Because of them we have kept our republic.

But now we cannot take the survival of our republic for granted. Now, we must ask ourselves if we can keep it. What has changed?

Today, the leaders and soldiers of the left have declared war on their fellow Americans and on our republic. They have declared war on anyone who disagrees with them. They will not accept any view of government other than their own. In fact, the left are so completely convinced of their own infallibility that they are prepared to resist and disobey any and all laws not conforming to their own views. Those who have not seen the light that they espouse are to be vilified and silenced. Therefore, they vociferously deny the unenlightened the right to express their opinions. Any who are suspect, in their minds, are a danger to our country and do not deserve the right to express their views. Anyone who disagrees with their vision of a just society is publicly denounced.

Goals that they cannot achieve by means of the ballot box, by propaganda from their coconspirators in the press, by indoctrination in the nation’s classrooms, by under-the-radar edicts from the shadow government bureaucracy, or by leftist judges are condemned. They are absolutely determined to eliminate any and all disagreement, including anyone who opposes them, by means of constant and aggressive intimidation.

The left and their ardent followers possess the truth. They know how to eliminate all the evils that they perceive in our nation. Like all those who see the truth, they have no tolerance for any proposed alternatives or for those who may espouse other tenets. They are the “true believers”, as described by Eric Hoffer.

Inequality must be eliminated. Social justice must be achieved. That is what they say. That is what they tell the people. However, if one watches what they do, one readily discerns that what they do does not necessarily correspond to what they say. As in Animal Farm, all the hogs are equal, but some are more equal than others. They say that they are committed to helping the American people, but they are more committed to getting their own way.

In the present instance, they are challenging the results of the last election.

Donald Trump won the election, but the leftists insist that he will never be their president. There has been no peaceful transfer of power. The leftists do not agree with the voters who supported Trump in the election. Therefore, based on their beliefs, they insist that he should not be president, and they are committed to disrupting the governmental process and to delegitimizing Trump’s presidency. The left is determined, by any means -- legal or otherwise, to foil Trump’s every effort in order to assure that only those programs in keeping with their own priorities be approved by the members of Congress.

What the left is doing may make them feel good, and they may even be successful. However, in the long run they will be unsuccessful because of what they are doing to our country.

In the first place, what will be the result if they break and discard our tradition of the peaceful transfer of power?

In the second place, what will be the result if they create conditions in our country in which the people no longer believe?

In the third place, what will be the result if they undermine our system of laws and the model of a law-abiding citizenry? What will be the result if everyone adopts the current position of the leftists that they are bound to obey only those laws that they want to obey?

The obvious answer to each of the questions posed in the previous paragraphs is frightening. They are frightening because the answer conjures up the inescapable outcome. In a society is in which all are free to contest the voters’ will in elections, in which the erosion of trust makes governance impossible, and in which the rule of law in no longer viable in society, anarchy reigns.

Without the three fundamental components that have enabled us to keep our republic we will find ourselves going down a slippery slope, the slippery slope toward anarchy.

And even though anarchy itself is unacceptable, the end result of anarchy is even worse.

History tells us that in most societies the people will not tolerate anarchy. Not surprisingly, they prefer the order of dictatorship to the disorder of anarchy, and that is the typical historical outcome for countries in which powerful forces do not accept the peaceful transfer of power, in which they create situations to undermine peoples’ trust, and in which they refuse to obey the nation’s laws.

Our Founding Fathers gave us a republic, one of the most successful governmental systems in the history of the world.

Can we keep it?

When Benjamin Franklin left Independence Hall at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, one of the anxious citizens gathered outside, a Mrs. Powell, asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got?” Immediately, he replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Well, so far we have.

We have kept it for a number of fundamental reasons. One reason is the peaceful transfer of power. When a winner is declared in an election, the other side is not happy, of course, but its adherents accept the voters’ will and begin the task of strengthening their party in order to regain power in the next election.

Another reason is the basic trust that the people have in their fellow countrymen, in the press, and in their government. They believe, and they are willing to accept their inherited approach to governance. None always gets what he/she wants, but basically everyone trusts that the system itself still functions as established by the Founding Fathers. As Thomas Jefferson said, Here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead nor to tolerate any error as long as reason is left free to combat it." A third fundamental reason is that Americans have been committed to and willing to obey the laws that govern us. The law is the law, and we believe that we should obey the law even though at times we do not agree with it. Since the founding of our nation, Americans have believed that basically our laws are good for them, for their friends and neighbors, and for their country.

Of course, these previously mentioned tenets are not the only ones that account for our becoming a great nation, but they are fundamental and indispensable to our becoming what we have become. Because of them we have kept our republic.

But now we cannot take the survival of our republic for granted. Now, we must ask ourselves if we can keep it. What has changed?

Today, the leaders and soldiers of the left have declared war on their fellow Americans and on our republic. They have declared war on anyone who disagrees with them. They will not accept any view of government other than their own. In fact, the left are so completely convinced of their own infallibility that they are prepared to resist and disobey any and all laws not conforming to their own views. Those who have not seen the light that they espouse are to be vilified and silenced. Therefore, they vociferously deny the unenlightened the right to express their opinions. Any who are suspect, in their minds, are a danger to our country and do not deserve the right to express their views. Anyone who disagrees with their vision of a just society is publicly denounced.

Goals that they cannot achieve by means of the ballot box, by propaganda from their coconspirators in the press, by indoctrination in the nation’s classrooms, by under-the-radar edicts from the shadow government bureaucracy, or by leftist judges are condemned. They are absolutely determined to eliminate any and all disagreement, including anyone who opposes them, by means of constant and aggressive intimidation.

The left and their ardent followers possess the truth. They know how to eliminate all the evils that they perceive in our nation. Like all those who see the truth, they have no tolerance for any proposed alternatives or for those who may espouse other tenets. They are the “true believers”, as described by Eric Hoffer.

Inequality must be eliminated. Social justice must be achieved. That is what they say. That is what they tell the people. However, if one watches what they do, one readily discerns that what they do does not necessarily correspond to what they say. As in Animal Farm, all the hogs are equal, but some are more equal than others. They say that they are committed to helping the American people, but they are more committed to getting their own way.

In the present instance, they are challenging the results of the last election.

Donald Trump won the election, but the leftists insist that he will never be their president. There has been no peaceful transfer of power. The leftists do not agree with the voters who supported Trump in the election. Therefore, based on their beliefs, they insist that he should not be president, and they are committed to disrupting the governmental process and to delegitimizing Trump’s presidency. The left is determined, by any means -- legal or otherwise, to foil Trump’s every effort in order to assure that only those programs in keeping with their own priorities be approved by the members of Congress.

What the left is doing may make them feel good, and they may even be successful. However, in the long run they will be unsuccessful because of what they are doing to our country.

In the first place, what will be the result if they break and discard our tradition of the peaceful transfer of power?

In the second place, what will be the result if they create conditions in our country in which the people no longer believe?

In the third place, what will be the result if they undermine our system of laws and the model of a law-abiding citizenry? What will be the result if everyone adopts the current position of the leftists that they are bound to obey only those laws that they want to obey?

The obvious answer to each of the questions posed in the previous paragraphs is frightening. They are frightening because the answer conjures up the inescapable outcome. In a society is in which all are free to contest the voters’ will in elections, in which the erosion of trust makes governance impossible, and in which the rule of law in no longer viable in society, anarchy reigns.

Without the three fundamental components that have enabled us to keep our republic we will find ourselves going down a slippery slope, the slippery slope toward anarchy.

And even though anarchy itself is unacceptable, the end result of anarchy is even worse.

History tells us that in most societies the people will not tolerate anarchy. Not surprisingly, they prefer the order of dictatorship to the disorder of anarchy, and that is the typical historical outcome for countries in which powerful forces do not accept the peaceful transfer of power, in which they create situations to undermine peoples’ trust, and in which they refuse to obey the nation’s laws.

Our Founding Fathers gave us a republic, one of the most successful governmental systems in the history of the world.

Can we keep it?

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