SAVE OUR CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC
By Senator Bob Smith
September 16, 2011
In the sweltering heat of Philadelphia from May 25th to September 17th, 1787, 53 delegates from 12 of the original 13 colonies (Rhode Island refused to send any representatives) struggled mightily to come to an agreement to adopt a Constitution for the United States of America. When it was over, an exhausted Benjamin Franklin walked down the steps of the Pennsylvania State House and was asked, “What kind of government did you create, Mr. Franklin?” To which he replied, “A republic, if we can keep it.” Are today’s leaders respecting and protecting the Constitution that Franklin and his heroic and patriotic colleagues gave us in 1787?
Can we keep it?
I do not see how we can keep it, if we do not understand what “it” is. I know that sounds uncomfortably close to a Bill Clinton quote that we might all like to forget. However, the history teacher part of me cringes every time I hear the media, columnists and most of our elected leaders refer to America as a democracy. New England town meetings are democracies. The majority determines the issue at hand. The government of the United States is a REPUBLIC. We ELECT representatives who vote in our absence and on our behalf. We trust them to lead us. These representatives take only one oath, when they are elected. That oath is to uphold the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution contains an oath of office only for the President. However, in 1789 the first Congress added a requirement to include members of Congress and other government officials, because they knew that adherence to the spirit and intent of our Constitution was critical to the survival of our republic.