A Republic … If You Can Keep It

July 5th, 2011

By Tom Carter

Benjamin FranklinInteresting, thoughtful column by Joe Scarborough today at Politico.  It’s built around the response attributed to Benjamin Franklin when asked by a lady what kind of government the Constitutional Convention had given the people.  He said, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.”

I agree with Scarborough’s view that “…America has followed the same working formula for 235 years — order comes from chaos and moderation comes from the balancing of extremes.”  He cites examples of the nasty politics of the past, pointing out that the rancor and ill-will on both sides were as bad or worse than they are today.

He concludes,

But regardless of the latest ramblings from the America-is-in-Decline crowd, I assure you that we will be just fine. As Walter Russell Mead recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal, the United States of America is better positioned to excel in the 21st Century than any nation on earth.

And why should that surprise anyone?

In America, peace always follows rancor, order always replaces chaos, and out of many always comes one nation. As it was in the beginning so it is today.

Given the problems we face and the hard steps now needed, I think it’s time to begin a period of more conservative government.  That’s necessary if we’re to begin backing away from the welfare state a bit, paying our bills, getting our economy in order, and instituting a pragmatic military and foreign policy.

Liberals don’t like that prescription, and conservatives aren’t going to be able to do all the things they might like once they’re in power.  Most notably, that includes dodging the bitter pill of tax increases.  But there are bullets that have to be bitten, and the time to start doing what’s necessary is now.

The elections of November 2012 will show whether we’re up to the task.  Listen to the candidates, and vote for the ones who evidence the courage to do unpopular but very necessary things.  We may soon find out whether we can keep the republic we were given.

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