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PostIs the US Political System Broken? Some Wisdom from Franklin (Bienvenido Macario, USA, 08/03/16 5:00 am)
José Manuel de Prada posed the intriguing question of whether the US political system is broken.
I wrote the following on WAIS in October 2015:
"The 2016 presidential election should be postponed and a caretaker government should be formed. After this election it will be more difficult to reorganize the US political system."
We could always try to decipher what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they created the Constitution and this nation. The debate during the drafting of the US constitution was held behind closed doors and in utmost secrecy. It was not exactly a public hearing. Naturally, people were anxious to know what was going on, and when the delegates came out the people were eager to know the consensus.
Benjamin Franklin was asked: "Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?"
Franklin candidly replied: "A republic, if you can keep it."
At that time, the choice was either a monarchy or a republic. I think we could all agree on this. The word "democracy" or "democratic" is not even in any of the documents created by the Founding Fathers or in the Magna Carta, the document on which these documents were based.
Books were later published about what transpired during the drafting of the Constitution.
Benjamin Franklin's writings would give us an idea of what is required for the American people to "keep the republic."
Here are some of Franklin's quotes--or if you prefer, warnings:
1. "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."
2. "Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature."
And my favorite:
3. "Without God we will be like the builders of the Tower of Babel."
[Benjamin Franklin, September 17, 1787, in his speech before the Constitutional Convention just before signing the final draft of the constitution.]
4. "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God."
5. "I have so much faith in the general government of the world by Providence that I can hardly conceive a transaction of such momentous importance [as the framing of the Constitution] ... should be suffered to pass without being in some degree influenced, guided, and governed by that omnipotent, omnipresent, and beneficent Ruler in whom all inferior spirits live and move and have their being."
6. "I think with you, that nothing is of more importance for the public weal, than to form and train up youth in wisdom and VIRTUE. Wise and GOOD men are in my opinion, the strength of the state; more so than riches or arms." [Benjamin Franklin's Letter to Samuel Johnson, August 23, 1750.]
JE comments: WAISdom doesn't pay enough attention to Benjamin Franklin, who could lay a claim to being the most American of American philosophers. No BS from Old Ben, and no European mind games. Just old-school common sense.
Is the US political system broken? My response to Bienvenido Macario is that if we suspend or postpone the November elections, it certainly is broken.