Waist deep in the big muddy

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National Suicide Seems the Only Remaining Option. Or is it?

It’s been a good run. Something over two centuries. But now, as the reality dawns on an increasing percentage of the population, the sad truth emerges. Let’s go back to the beginning. That amazing day of July 4, 1776. Assaulted by the powers of wealth and privilege, a group of men gathered during a hot, humid Philadelphia summer and faced a moment of truth. They sent forth a message to the world. “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.”

Few men understood the meaning of that day more than Benjamin Franklin. Thirteen colonies had decided to challenge the wealthiest and most powerful nation on the planet. Each who signed the Declaration did it with the full knowledge that they had pledged their life and livelihood to the idea that the people should control their own governance and that a government dominated by the wealthy and powerful was unacceptable.

Some years later, September 17, 1787 to be precise, Franklin gave a speech on the final day of the Constitutional Convention. According to Madison’s notes, he began as follows:

“I confess that there are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am sure I shall never approve them: for having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obligated by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others.”

On that day, and in the spirit which Franklin echoed, the Constitution was finished and ratification began. The news quickly spread that the country had a new governing document. As Franklin left the building, the following exchange occurred.

More than any other present during the deliberations, with the possible exception of James Madison, Franklin appreciated both the benefits and the dangers of what the Convention had decided upon. In a country where a large percentage of the population was illiterate and education was primitive, the future depended upon the intelligent engagement of citizens in their own government. He knew that, should such engagement dissipate, there were forces of avarice that would seek to steal away the Republic. If the people ever lost the ability to recognize and pursue their own self-interest, Madison’s structure would fall like a house of cards.

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