As Benjamin Franklin left the deliberations at the end of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, a Mrs. Powell of Philadelphia stopped and asked the old man: “Well, doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?” To which Franklin replied, “A republic, madam–if you can keep it.”
This republic that Franklin and the other founders gave us isn’t inevitable: it is a precious gift that must be tended and cultivated, like a garden. On this Fourth of July, I’m thinking about the gift I’ve received to be a citizen of this republic and the stewardship of the people who passed that gift on to me, and I’m thinking about my responsibility in turn to pass it on to the children who will come after me.
A sacred responsibility.
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