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Republic requires virtue of citizens and leaders to work
I’m beginning to understand what Benjamin Franklin meant when encountering a woman on the street following the constitutional convention. “Mr. Franklin, what have you bequeathed us?” His reply: “A republic, Madam, if you can keep it.”
Let us be united in interpreting what we’re talking about. A republic (according to Webster) is “a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.” Similarly, a democracy is “government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.
We have, over time, developed and made work a republican (small r) form of government. Remarkably, a handful of men, in a country of less than four million people, had the skills, wisdom and insight to debate and create a system with the capacity to lead the world.
Underneath it all, what Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, and others instinctively realized and what prompted Franklin’s remark (“a republic – if you can keep it”) was the belief that the ultimate success of their new found republic rested on the willingness of its people to do the right thing.
A key element of the framer’s conviction was that virtue had to be part and parcel of republican government. More than just moral standing, honesty and integrity, they further believed (which Madison made abundantly clear) virtue involved “a sense of civic self-sacrifice and the ability to overcome self-interest and act for the benefit of the broader community” (as expressed by former Indiana Congressman, Lee Hamilton). The early framers unequivocally expected that extraordinary level of virtue and not just in political leaders but in citizens themselves.
These principled and unconditional doctrines allowed the framers (without doubts or misgivings) and “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence,” to “mutually pledge to each other their Lives, Fortunes, and sacred Honor.”
As incongruous as it may seem, they made that solemn pledge with the clear understanding and recognition that the whole thing would undoubtedly fail if the people lacked the capacity to make it work.
Many Americans appear to have lost trust in government and in one another. If we regard the violent, deadly, shameless attack on our Capitol January 6th by our own people a measure of our ability to make our republic work, I would say we have fallen significantly short of the framer’s expectations.
Is it too far-fetched to conclude therefore, that if the framers were alive today, having witnessed recent events (including the shameful participation of a president), that they would look upon many of our choices of leaders as conspicuously not in the best interests of preserving our democracy or republic but indisputably endangering both?
It is imperative we look back and remember that everything depends on us; our children’s future, our way of life, our survival… everything.
David Snell – Franklin, N.C.
Keep living life and mind your own business
As if there wasn’t enough for people to be worked up over all the chaos created by corrupt politicians and the virus circus show. Today we have multiple confirmed rabies cases in Macon County as reported by our local newspapers and wildlife biologists. Just last Saturday another raccoon was shot on a Cowee property because it was acting sickly in broad daylight and showed no fear of humans. The wildlife guys were called to test the animal, and it came back positive for rabies. While I am a believer in rabies vaccines for pets, I don’t think everyone will be rushing to get a human rabies vaccination anytime soon to prevent the spread of it. However, if the crooked politicians who have an abysmal record of telling the truth saw an opportunity to exploit confirmed rabies cases, they would surely do it. Many people would no doubt follow the “official” narrative without thinking for themselves or understanding that life is dangerous in general. Threats are everywhere that are out of our control, especially driving on the highways, but we all need to calm down and keep living life while minding our own business. I doubt that will happen anytime soon given the current climate of fearmongering, gross misinformation, and busybodies, but it is something to keep in mind. In the meantime, perhaps the do-gooder, virtue signaling crowd who want to confront non-maskers in grocery stores or legislate intrusive regulations can descend upon Macon County and convince the coons and stray dogs to socially distance from each other and wear face coverings in the woods? Maybe even Saint Fauci can make an appearance to ask the skunks and foxes to self-quarantine to flatten the curve of rabies in our area? Until then, we can always trust the Lord in His sovereignty and use common sense to live our lives since government and mainstream media continue to prove they cannot be trusted.
Jim Gaston – Franklin, N.C.