‘A Republic, If You Can Keep It.’ Can We? Will We?

By David Limbaugh

Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
David Limbaugh
David Limbaugh

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- When Benjamin Franklin emerged from Independence Hall at the close of the Constitutional Convention, a lady asked him what kind of government had been formed.

Franklin reportedly responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Franklin’s answer has always been interesting because it revealed that he well understood the profound difference between a pure democracy and a constitutional republic. But far more intriguing to me was Franklin’s implied concern that the newly crafted scheme of government was hardly self-sustaining and ultimately vulnerable.

He and the other framers understood that liberty was rare in world history and that it would be no easy task to design a system that would both maximize and preserve it. I believe that until relatively recently most Americans cherished this system precisely because it was uniquely equipped to accomplish those purposes. Now I am not so sure.

The framers established a federal government with sufficient power to ensure ordered liberty, but with a host of limitations on its power. Governmental power was divided between the federal government and the states, and federal power was divided among three branches that would each check encroachments by the others. They set up a bicameral legislature to further diffuse federal power and eventually drafted a Bill of Rights to expressly guarantee civil liberties against government intrusion — and much more.

This system was vastly superior to the celebrated “democratic” systems of ancient Greece and the Roman Republic. It wasn’t the first system to include popular participation in the decisions of government. It was unique because it was the first to impose significant limitations on government.

It is those limitations that ensure our liberties. It is those limitations that make America the greatest nation in world history and the envy of all mankind.

It is the deliberate erosion and destruction of those limitations that existentially threatens this nation today.

Don’t you see? Franklin knew as well as anyone the powerful safeguards he and the other framers had imposed to maximize and preserve liberty, and yet he knew that human nature was such that this system would still be vulnerable to abuse and attack. “A republic, if you can keep it.”

No matter how ingeniously designed, the Constitution and laws are not immune from fascists who, under color of law, ignore their plain meaning. Checks and balances ultimately break down if those wielding power twist, pervert, ignore, selectively enforce and flout the law.

This is why character matters so much; this is why morality is foundational to government. Any system of self-governance, even one as glorious as ours, ultimately depends on the honor of the people living under it.

Anti-constitutionalists have been chipping away at the integrity of the Constitution for decades, for they prefer the forcible imposition of their own values and agenda more than they cherish liberty.

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama

But the process of dismantling our system has now accelerated to alarming levels — it has reached a fever pitch — as the puffed-up left is feeling its oats, intoxicated by a bitter president anxious to exact revenge on a nation he obviously believes was born in hell.

Why would President Obama have any hesitation in emasculating the Constitution and the rule of law when he resents its very formation and what it represents? Why would he protect our borders against illegal immigration when he doesn’t believe in the system the legal immigration process is designed to promote — especially when changing the demographics is virtually guaranteed to increase the power of radical leftists?

I don’t expect to get through to people who, like Obama, believe America, as founded, is intrinsically unfair, but I challenge fellow freedom lovers to consider that Obama and his band of leftists don’t really care so much about things like expanding people’s access to quality health care; they don’t care about putting people back to work; they don’t even care about harmony among the races.

What they care about is consolidating their power and imposing their will, and they use these various hot-button causes to do so. They want to have their way, and they are using government in unprecedented ways to achieve it — absolutely unconcerned about the destroyed liberties in their wake. They are showing their true colors as they freely trample on the Constitution and rule of law. They are not only encroaching on the liberties of their opponents; they are openly trying to muzzle them.

Bernie Sanders
Unapologetic Socialist Bernie Sanders

More and more people are starting to wake up to the extremism of the political left, which, incidentally, has taken firm control of today’s Democratic Party to the point that pundits across the board are acknowledging that unapologetic socialist Bernie Sanders risks nothing in proudly advertising his socialist agenda to his base.

In fact, his openness has forced Hillary Clinton to scramble even further leftward to compete.

I pray that freedom lovers and patriots will muster the same passion in defending this nation as those attacking it. The first step is to recognize what’s going on. Is it possible that even some rank-and-file Democrats can set aside their allegiance to party affiliation long enough to open their eyes to it?

That’s a long shot. But could at least those who call themselves Republicans wipe the sleep out of their eyes and rise up in defense of liberty and this our rapidly disintegrating America?

David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book is “Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel.” Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com

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Joe Lee
Joe Lee
5 years ago

We all agree WE need do to something. Well we can by voting for good honest people. If you are reading this post and you didn’t vote shame on you get off your ass and vote. Keep on voting until we get it right.

Eric
Eric
5 years ago

Mob rule economics , and socialism is wiping out our country. Freeloading kids that never grow up smoking weed wanting it legal to make big drug money. All these entitlements like $1 a month cell phone. I don’t see a cell phone as a life necessity . If rent subsidies were removed housing cost would drop. Property taxes taking over our lives, needing permits to do anything on OUR PROPERTY.

Clark Kent
Clark Kent
5 years ago

Yup. “Bread and Circuses” was referenced in Roman times. Nothing new under the sun.

Clark Kent
Clark Kent
5 years ago

We already have term limits enshrined in the Constitution. They are called ‘elections’ and they occur regularly. Don’t like the person in office? Vote ’em out! Of course, most Americans don’t even bother to register to vote, much less vote. ‘We have met the enemy and he is us’ – Pogo. Part of ‘keeping’ a republic is having an informed, active electorate that votes in each and every election. Instead we have citizens only interested in ‘bread and circuses’.

Janek
Janek
5 years ago
Reply to  Clark Kent

When you wrote of “Bread and Circuses” were you really referring to ‘Food Stamps and NFL Football’?

chewinmule
chewinmule
5 years ago

I fear you are completely missing the point in this “exercise”.

With the “ratification” of the “bayonet amendments”, driven by the “Boss of the Union”, Thaddeus Stevens, et al, , the people of the “conquered lands” of the Union of Lincoln could only be readmitted by renouncing (see oath of loyalty) their “abolished state citizenship” of the respective sovereign states. A new citizenship was created, “United States citizens”. This action allowed, from then on, new definitions of rights, with none being considered as before, “inalienable”.

You just don’t get it!

Ernestovich
Ernestovich
5 years ago

We need to be precise and careful about defining exactly what the problem is that is destroying this country. Let us remember that totalitarians come from both the left and the right. Establishing a process that allows for balance and justice for all is not easy. There are glimpses of this in our founding principles. While we may fear the “socialists”, let us not forget the definition of fascism as stated by Benito Mussolini which seems to be most appropriate today in this country. Point in fact, who finances our political process, corrupts our legal structures and politicians?

Janek
Janek
5 years ago

Our Republic is falling out of favor because it’s being subverted by politicians exercising “executive privilege” and judges who are engaged in “judicial activism”. How many “ballot initiatives” across the country have garnered a majority only to be overturned in the courts because someone filed a lawsuit challenging the outcome?

Sherri Houchin
Sherri Houchin
5 years ago

This sounds like good sense to me! I hope everyone reads and absorbs what he’s saying!

George
George
5 years ago

The founding fathers never thought that Democrats and Republicans would conspire together in Congress to steal from the public, so they installed no legal apparatus to flush them all out at once and start over with fresh faces. That is exactly what we need to do though, if we want to keep our country. Being a Senator has become quite lucrative these days, as more become multi-millionaires while in office. They pass laws exempting themselves from other laws. If you did insider trading you would get prison, they do it and get a vacation. They passed a law that says… Read more »

hippybiker
hippybiker
5 years ago
Reply to  George

George, there is a way, and a process to change it. It’s called The Declaration of Independence. It has never been rescinded, and it is ours to use. It is shameful to me, that there are not enough among us with the Balls to do so.

Carl Smith
Carl Smith
5 years ago
Reply to  hippybiker

I believe you are referring to the Constitution. The Declaration outlined all the grievances for Our separation from Great Britain. The Constitution outlines our Natural Rights by putting them in writing. Our biggest problem is Reading Comprehension is a lost science. “Depends on what the definition of IS, IS.

Big D
Big D
5 years ago
Reply to  Carl Smith

I believe he is correct:

“–That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Randy
Randy
5 years ago
Reply to  George

There is a way. It is called Article II.