Our Republic. Can We Keep It? The Midterms May Tell Us

By Donald A. Collins | 19 February 2022
Church and State

The Benjamin Franklin National Memorial. (Credit: YouTube / screengrab)

As Benjamin Franklin came out of Independence Hall in Philadelphia from that famous Constitutional Convention meeting in 1787, he was allegedly asked if we were a republic or a monarchy, to which he is widely believed to have replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Did he say that?

In a December 19, 2019 Washington Post article, which you can read here, was the historians’ verdict: Probably.

At this point in our history, there are so many things afoot which bear upon the answer Franklin probably gave.

1. The Outcome of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine on NATO and US public opinion
2. The evolution of racial discrimination on US voters—Civil War?
3. The Supreme Court decision on Roe/Casey—Right of privacy?
4. The fate of election efforts in Republican controlled state legislatures to keep minorities from voting—National right to vote law needs established
5. The passage of parts of the Build Back Better bill
6. The selection of a new Justice on the Supreme Court
7. The prosecution of Donald J. Trump and any of his allies
8. The status of the USA as leader of the free world

You can probably think of more, but the pressures on the republic seem to many of us as historically high.

Never before has a sitting President tried to stop the succession of a duly (and conclusively) elected successor and then continuously lied about the results without his party stopping him as he took control of the opposition party. .

Will he get away with it? Are we still a nation of laws?

The recent efforts to make the right to vote Federal failed. That right is now vested in the states and a Federal Right to Vote amendment has failed to pass so the restrictions placed on voting in the Republican controlled state legislatures could swing the election to a GOP candidate which at this time seems certain to be the ex President who is in many voters’ minds a felon.

You can read why a nations’ national right to vote law is so needed here.

It is of course being resisted by the GOP as the voting numbers of its ranks keep falling.

One sees so little signs that the GOP will start governing instead of just saying NO.

Will Putin provide a wakeup call for both parties to begin cooperation on vital issues such as noted above?

That’s challenge Ben Franklin “probably” spoke about in 1787. And that ball is now in the present generation of US citizens’ court, this last word in Trump’s case centrally operative!

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC, has spent over 50 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of “From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013”, “Trump Becoming Macbeth: Will our democracy survive?”, “We Humans Overwhelm Our Earth: 11 or 2 Billion by 2100?” and “What Can Be Done Now to Save Habitable Life on Planet Earth?: Leaders Commit to Reduce Human Population”.

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