Category Saving America

“Common Sense” Profiling

I am re-posting the following article I wrote in 2005.

On January 19th, 2005, I watched a program on CNN entitled, “Defending America”.  The program aired during the Anderson Cooper 360 show.  In it, CNN’s Drew Griffin interviewed Michael Touhey the American Airlines ticket agent who sold tickets to Mohammed Atta and his henchman.


The most compelling part of the show, to me, was that the first thing Mr. Touhey thought when Atta approached his counter was, “if these two don’t look like terrorists, I don’t know who does” (paraphrased).  Yet, despite his “gut feeling”, he issued tickets to both.  In fact, he said that his second thought was of shame for judging based on his “gut feeling” and their appearance.


Thus, he faced a “catch-22” situation that has been imposed by our country’s incessant quest for political correctness and tolerance.  If he questions their motives, he is likely to face a reprimand for “racially profiling.”  If he issues tickets, he runs the risk of letting two individuals who may be terrorists, on board the plane.  Unfortunately for hundreds of people that day, he erred on the side of political correctness.


Of course Mr. Touhey would take it all back were he given the chance today.  So this brings us to the question, if hindsight is 20-20 would he be correct in calling the authorities to check out the two men?  Of course, the rational among us emphatically scream, “YES!”  However, if this is the case, why do we still not allow our law enforcement officers to do the same?


The answer is because the “deafening minority” is louder than the “silent majority”.  Anytime there is the appearance of a law enforcement officer singling out a minority, this relatively small minority of people (or groups like the ACLU or MALDEF) cry foul.


Is it safe to assume then, that those opposed to allowing law enforcement officers to use their experience (aka “gut feelings”) and profiling techniques to question individuals would still want Mr. Touhey to issue the tickets?  Doing otherwise would be to “racially profile” according to some people.


Which way do we want it? We cannot have it both ways.  Do we continue to cower in the face of the “deafening minority,” or use “common sense” profiling to thwart crimes in our nation?


I liken the situation to the inland immigration enforcement operations (aka “sweeps”) that occurred in June of 2004 in southern California.  When, once again, the “deafening minority” cried foul to Asa Hutchinson and the sweeps were stopped, a human rights commission was convened in Riverside, CA to discuss the appropriate methods for our law enforcement officers to use when identifying potential illegal aliens (or other criminals for that matter).  At that meeting, I reasoned with the commission that the techniques used by immigration officials should be similar to those of vice officers when picking up prostitutes.


If the law enforcement officers see a group of scantily clad women (a subjective assessment) at night approaching cars that stop by the side of the road, in an area known for prostitution, their reasonable conclusion is that these women are prostitutes.  Likewise, if immigration officers see a bunch of men in work clothes (another subjective assessment) on the side of the road approaching pick-up trucks as they come by and leaving in those trucks, their reasonable conclusion is that these men are illegal aliens.


It is entirely possible for the women to be tourists asking for directions, just like it is possible for the men to be American citizens looking for work.  With the presumption that there can always be doubt about these conclusions, why can vice make these judgment calls and immigration and local law enforcement officials not be allowed to do so?

We need our public officials to reassure the law enforcement community that they will be defended by their federal, state and local governments, should a group like ACLU or MALDEF bring suit against them for using “common sense” profiling.  We need to begin standing up for each other when we see someone wrongly labeled as a “racist” with the not-so-hidden-agenda of silencing them.  We cannot continue to let the “deafening minority” dictate the security—or lack thereof–of our country and usurp our laws to suit their purpose.

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Article V: Defend not Amend

It is called by many names:  Constitutional Convention, Con-Con, Convention of States, Article V Convention.

But just because we can have one, doesn’t mean we should have one.  In fact, the opposite is true.

Fox News recently published an article in their Politics section entitled “States’ rights advocates eye convention to bypass Congress, amend Constitution.”  As the title implies, the article discusses the efforts by what they refer to as “States’ Rights advocates” to call for a “convention of states.”  Right out of the gate, the deception begins–be it intentional or simply due to ignorance and lazy reporting.

With all of these references to the states, you would think that an Article V Convention (as it is most precisely called) is controlled by the states.  However, this is not the case.

Let’s review exactly what Article V of the U.S. Constitution says.

The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents, and purposes as part of this Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three-fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.”  Article V, U.S. Constitution

So there are two phases to the amendment process.

A) Amendment Phase

B) Ratification Phase

Additionally, there are 4 types of actors involved.

  1. Congress
  2. State Legislatures
  3. National Convention
  4. Conventions in the States


ArtV - Phases and actors new


Let us set aside the case in which Congress proposes amendments, since that is not being discussed in this article.  The next case in which an amendment can be proposed initiates with the state legislatures.

The Congress… on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states shall call a convention for proposing amendments…

This is the “convention” that is referred to when you hear all the various names of an Article V Convention including “Convention of States.”  And this is where the involvement of the states ends until the ratification phase.  While proponents of an Article V Convention attempt to deceive the general public (and uninformed state legislators) into thinking that a “Convention of the States” is comprised of the several states, it is not the case at all.

Notice that in the language of Article V, two-thirds of the state legislatures must apply, but Congress is the actor who “call[s] a convention for proposing amendments.”  This is a significant point.


ArtV - Convention called new



How are the delegates selected? What are the rules of the convention?  How many votes does each state or delegate receive?

For the answers to these, we need to refer to another clause of the U.S. Constitution–specifically Article I, Section 8, Clause 17–otherwise known as the “Necessary and Proper” clause.

The Congress shall have power…To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.”  U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 (Emphasis added)

As you can see, because the power of Congress to call an Article V Convention is vested by the Constitution, Congress may decide the how delegates are selected, how the rules are established, and potentially how many votes each state or delegate will receive.

So the bottom line is that this will be a federal convention, not a “Convention of States” as the name implies.

So why does Fox News align this movement with States’ Rights?  Part of the answer lies in the quote from the Texas Public Policy Forum president:

The American people are mad and they’re looking for a way to say, ‘No more,

the U.S. Constitution is not a self-enforcing document

Proponents of an Article V convention are attempting to tap into this anger; specifically in those who, without researching the actual mechanics of a convention, will latch onto the rallying cry of “States’ rights!”  Unfortunately, as I have described above, states may have nothing to do with the actual proposing of amendments which will happen on the floor of the convention by the delegates Congress authorizes.

Even Fox News in their shoddy reporting gets it wrong when they say, “Article V of the Constitution allows a minimum of two-thirds of the states to call for a convention to propose amendments, in turn going around Congress. ”  Article V does not “allow.. the states to call for a convention.”  Only Congress can do that as it is plainly written in Article V.

While there are many other dangers inherent in an Article V conventions, I will only briefly mention a couple here for you to consider and then move on to more important matters.

  1. An amendment to the Constitution can change just one comma or everything except one comma.  Despite the claims to the contrary, there is no such thing as a limited Article V Convention.
  2. Four simple words can change everything “States’ sovereignty is abolished.”  Although lawyers today would add 40, 400, or even 4,000 words to obfuscate this simple concept.

The sad part of this entire discussion to this point is that it is all smoke and mirrors.  Proponents of an Article V Convention misdiagnose the problem and then proceed to prescribe the wrong solution hoping to keep your attention away from the root causes of our failing republic.

The Wrong Solution to the Wrong Problem

what we have is a people problem, not a document problem

Anyone with an ounce of God-given common-sense will tell you that the first step to solving a problem is correctly identifying the problem.

So what do the advocates of an Article V Convention tell us is the problem?   An out-of-control federal government.

Let’s break this down…

Our republican form of government is made up of the people we elect and their appointees.  To be precise, it is not the government that is out-of-control; it is our public servants who we allow to run the government that are exhibiting “out-of-control” behavior–individually and en masse.  Our minimum expectation of these officials (elected and otherwise) should be to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.”  The problem is that they are not.

They do not support and defend the Constitution because “we the people” do not hold them accountable when they fail to do so.  Unfortunately for the lazy, complacent, and apathetic Americans, the U.S. Constitution is not a self-enforcing document.

In “The American Crisis, No. 4” written in 1777, Thomas Paine says:

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.

Advocates of an Article V Convention are trying to convince us that there is something wrong with the Constitution.  That if we can just make a few tweaks, everything will be back on track.  But, what we have is a people problem, not a document problem.

So after they have misdiagnosed the problem as an out-of-control federal government (or public servants in effect), proponents of an Article V convention propose that in order to fix this “problem” we should change the Constitution.

But, if public servants won’t uphold the Constitution, why is amending it the solution?

Will we add an amendment that says “We really mean it this time!”?

Should we then amend the 10 commandments because people won’t obey them?

The real problem is not an out-of-control government, nor even our public servants.  After all, we already have term limits on our elected officials…they are called elections!

The real problem is a complacent public who would rather choose the simple solution of allowing professional, well-organized, and well-funded organizations to promote an Article V Convention, because it gives us the feeling that something is being done rather than do the hard work of staying informed and holding our public servants accountable for their individual actions.

The root problem with the Republic is that “We the People” are not holding our public servants accountable.  Until we hold them accountable, no change to the Constitution will matter.  Once we hold them accountable, no change to the Constitution will be necessary.

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The “Race” to the Bottom for America

Are you tired yet of every racial grievance making its way into the political arena to try to score political points? Tired of people using race as an excuse to justify poor behavior like tearing down or defacing historical monuments? Tired of the double-standards, hypocrisy, and the dredging up of historical animosities to perpetuate racial divides?

We are in a “race” to the bottom in America, and we’re getting there fast!

Recently, during two school assemblies at Glen Allen high school in Henrico, VA, administrators played a four-minute, “racially-charged” video created by the African American Policy Forum (AAPF) portraying any non-Caucasoid American as a victim of discrimination and white privilege. The title of the video? “Structural Discrimination: The Unequal Opportunity Race

There is too much to dismantle about this blatant “error in judgement” on the part of school administrators, but let us try to at least discuss the major problems.

Reportedly, the purpose for showing the video was to educate about American history and racial discourse for Black History Month.

Now, because I am a firm believer that words still have meaning I want to take just a moment to define the word “race” in order to clarify how it ought to be used, and to illustrate how it is being completely hijacked for the purposes of the racial grievance industry.

Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines race as “The lineage of a family, or continued series of descendants from a parent who is called the stock.”   Now, consider that the current forensic anthropological classification of the 3 races are:  Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Negroid.

Noah Webster

Noah Webster

The “stock” (or progenitors) of the 3 races are Shem, Ham, and Japheth who were the sons of Noah.  Negroids are descended from the line of Ham, Mongoloids are descended from the line of Shem, and Caucasoids are descended from the line of Japheth.  Obviously, today the races have greatly intermingled which is why forensic anthropologists must use the size and shape of various bones structures such as the upper jaw and cheekbones in order to determine from which race a person descends.

Yes, you read that correctly– even though the grievance industry uses the word “race” to describe the color of a person’s skin, the pigmentation alone does not determine race.

By way of comparison, the word “racism” does not even exist in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary.  As you may have guessed, this word has only been used recently (since the 1930s) in its current inappropriate context.  One of the problems with creating new words that are vague in nature or lack a precise definition is that it allows anyone during the period of its earliest usage to hijack it for their own purposes.  While the reasonable person would expect that the word “racism” deals with the 3 different races, the actual application of the word by the racial grievance industry changes depending on which classification of people are attempting to extort benefits from their counterparts in the other classifications.  On one day the classification could be by ethnicity, yet on another it could be by nationality, skin color, or a geographic region their ancestors came from.

“Racism” is just a convenient word to incite fear in those who concern themselves with political correctness.

So let’s allow a gracious definition of the word “racism” so we might continue this discussion and further dismantle the motives of the school administrators and the premises behind the video itself.

Other than trying to align an individual’s identity with the pigmentation of their skin rather than their citizenship and allegiance to the Unites States, what purpose is served by acknowledging “Black History Month” in the school system? Should we then have “White History Month,” “Yellow History Month,” “Brown History Month,” and “Red History Month” as well?  Perhaps we should reorganize our calendar to allow enough months for each self-identified victim class to have their own month to air perceived grievances? After all, wouldn’t that be fair?  (More on fairness later)

Why should it matter if a person is descended from sub-Saharan Africans, Europeans, or indigenous peoples from Latin America? Isn’t it more important that the American history we learn is about America and how Americans have arrived at our current set of circumstances?

Of course, like every other nation, our history involves strife between nations, races, and ideologies (e.g. War of 1812, slavery, politics), as well as strife within a nation (e.g. the Civil War).  Every rational American literate in our nation acknowledges the political, martial, social, and moral obstacles we have overcome to get where we are today.  Yet, it is the current choices we make as individuals (guided by our principles and values) that define us–not one or more snapshots in the history of our nation, or the pigmentation in our skin.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” –Dr. Martin Luther King

So, if we accept that each of us should be defined by the “content of [our] character” as evidenced by our current choices, and not by mistakes we made in the past, how can our entire nation be judged differently?  Only through hypocrisy can both be accepted.  Is not the United States (as our name implies) made up of the several states, which in turn are comprised of us as individuals?  President Thomas Jefferson said it best in his letter to George Logan in 1816.

President Thomas Jefferson

President Thomas Jefferson

“It is strangely absurd to suppose that a million of human beings collected together are not under the same moral laws which bind each of them separately” –President Thomas Jefferson in The Works of Thomas Jefferson, pg. 43

If we are truly interested in teaching history for the sake of learning from its teachings, shouldn’t we spend some time on the former Yugoslavia and how its ethnic divides gave rise to the term “balkanization?”  Perhaps it is not a great idea to promulgate the perceived injustices of various races, ethnicities, or any other arbitrary classification of peoples living together.  As we have learned from even recent history, there are severe consequences.

So, back to the video…

The major premise of the video is clearly evident in the title “Structural Discrimination: The Unequal Opportunity Race”

I don’t think this warrants much time, but the implication is that some form of discrimination is built into the structure of America, and that somehow there is a race afoot where different classes of individuals have unequal opportunities to “win.”

Based on the content of the video, the “race” seems to be about acquiring wealth.  While I do not personally believe that this is the race we are running in life, for the sake of our discussion, let’s give the benefit of the doubt to the African American Policy Forum and assume that the wealth of which they speak is that which is necessary to support a person through his lifetime.

After watching this video, somehow we are expected to arrive at the conclusion that the pigmentation of a person’s skin may somehow cause an individual to have an unequal opportunity to acquire the wealth necessary to support himself.

Since the video is about racial discourse, let’s put our “race” glasses on and see what we can learn.

There are four actors in the video:

  • one pale-skinned male and one pale-skinned female runner
    • We will presume both are Caucasoids although we are unable to be sure without our forensic anthropology measurements
  • one slightly darker male runner who could be Latino or from the south of Asia
    • Perhaps we are to presume he is Mongoloid, but again, who can know what race he is without measurements;
  • one even darker-skinned female runner who might be of African descent
    • We are to presume she is of the Negroid race;

This is the part of the problem with the racial grievance industry…they throw around vague and nondescript terms like “race” and “racism” without informing the public of how they are using the term.  Then when you point out a flaw in the premise of their argument by saying something like, “how do you know what race these runners are?”, they will inform you that their definition of race has changed to the color of skin.  The problem with this tactic is, where do you draw the line in shades of color? Can a light-skinned Irishman call a tan Italian a racist? Can a dark-skinned Latino call a native Central American a racist?  This is why the grievance industry must constantly change the definitions of the “injured” party or allow them to self-identify in order to keep the industry alive and profitable.

booker-t-washington greivance

From My Larger Education, Being Chapters from My Experience (1911) by Booker T. Washington, pg. 118

Back to the race…

So, when the race starts, the time on the clock is 1492, which is supposed to be symbolic of the discovery of America by Europeans (Caucasoids).  The implication? That the “structural discrimination” began as soon as Columbus arrived to America.  However, no mention is made of the discrimination that took place between indigenous tribes on the continent before or since that date.  In that era, discrimination took the form of violent inter-tribal warfare, and it is only the lack of modern technology (gunpowder) initially that prevented the “discrimination” from claiming even more lives.

Certainly the AAPF is not suggesting that discrimination from within a race is acceptable are they?  That only discrimination from a separate race is frowned upon?  Because they do not mention this discrimination at all! But then again, consider the lack of outcry from the “Black Lives Matter” proponents about the significant amount of deaths caused by individuals with the same (or similar) pigmentation in their skin...

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Chopping at the Root

Sometimes I get so frustrated scrolling through all of the social media out there full of the latest unbelievable act of this politician or that branch of government.

I get frustrated because recounting and underscoring the wrongness of these acts, or testifying to how angry it makes you, or spending time creating memes about them does nothing to solve the problem. While sharing news stories and commentaries with your fellow citizens is important, I believe we have far too many of these social media “pundits” out there and not enough analysts, planners, and principled leaders.

Further compounding the problem is that the “pundits” do not do their own research, but just re-post what they have already seen, further inciting the already near-riotous, pitchfork-wielding, froth-mouthed internet mob with half-vetted stories.

Imagine that all of these problems we see flying around the internet (as well as their detrimental consequences) are branches or limbs on an undesirable tree in your backyard.  The branches that are growing closest to your house, powerlines, or fence are the urgent issues.

You can continue building the analogy to suit the situation, but hopefully, you get the idea!  As part of this scenario, our assertion is that all of the branches are eventually connected to a root system that represents the “root” cause(s) of these problems.

Now, if you are fed up with all of these problems (branches), does it make sense to continue to swat at the limbs and break off the branches, or would it be better to identify where the root system extends and “chop at the root” of the problem?

Conviction is worthless unless it is converted into conduct.

–Thomas Carlyle

You see, that is what frustrates me:  too much hacking at branches and not enough chopping at roots.  Branches are a distraction–sometimes an urgent distraction–but a distraction nonetheless.  All of the time we are not chopping at the roots, they are extending, growing deeper, and seeking out new sources of nutrients to extend the life and support needed for the ever-growing size and number of branches (problems).

Break the branch of one corrupt politician and another one will grow back…

Slap away the branch full of unconstitutional legislation and more will grow back…

Saw off the limb representing the latest executive amnesty or comprehensive immigration reform and another will grow back in its place…

Rip off the thousands of leaves and twigs representing the hypocritic, immoral, and downright anti-American objectives of the progressive agenda and it will continue to surface to influence our politicians…

Unless you chop at the root!

So how do we chop at the root?

First you have to find the root(s).  “That’s easy,” you might say, “just follow the branches down until it reaches the ground!”  It’s the politicians, stupid!

Yes, that seems simple enough…or is it?

How many times have you heard someone say something like…”all we need to do to fix our country is to vote for this person or that party and we’ll be saved!”

Tell me, how is this strategy working out for us?

Even if we do truly find the roots, then what?  How do you expose them? Destroy them? Ensure that they are completely uprooted and destroyed?

To answer questions and make decisions of this magnitude, we need a framework that will help us choose the best course(s) of action–a set of priorities and principles if you will–to guide what promises to be a long and arduous journey to ensure that our collective efforts are focused, in concert, and ultimately “chopping at the root”.

To do otherwise would only be perpetuating the status quo of “hacking at limbs”.  We will come back to the framework a little later.   First it is time for a healthy dose of the truth.

So, you think the root of the issue is the politicians? Think again.

Root Causes v3

The politicians are just the trunk of the tree in our analogy.  Blaming the politicians for our nation’s problems is like blaming our own children for the way they turned out after years of tantrums, outbursts, and disrespectful behavior without consequences; or like blaming a company’s employees for its bankruptcy after years of poor employee performance and no change in staff.

No, the responsibility lies with each of us.  After all, we are the ones responsible for electing them to office and then allowing them to stay!  Collectively, and individually in most cases, we have not fulfilled our solemn duty of being good stewards of our Republic.  We have failed each other!

Early in our nation’s history, President Andrew Jackson warned us about this.

President Andrew Jackson

But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing.  It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States as well as in the Federal Government.” — Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address, March 4, 1837

 In our analogy, this failure is represented by allowing the roots of “Apathy” and “Selfishness” to grow unabated.  We have abdicated our individual responsibilities as the ultimate caretakers of our great nation.  Either we think our efforts don’t matter or we have too many other important things to do.

If we do not accept responsibility on an individual basis for our failure to safeguard our Republic, we will continue to blame the guy in office and go on to replace him with the next guy with the “correct” letter next to their name at the ballot box.  This is the same thing we have been doing for decades, and it will continue to give us the same results.

When is the last time someone you know ran for elected office; or at a minimum someone who goes through the same struggles in life as you?  Someone who shares the same principles and values? Someone you know to be altruistic and true to his word?

“Ok, so I have accepted that I have not done enough to safeguard my country.  What now?”

Chances are that if you are like the rest of us, for that period of time when your head was down, grinding away at life, going to school, working, raising families, and paying bills, you only picked your head up occasionally to see what was going on around your state or country.  And I don’t mean just to watch the news; I mean to take extra time out of your day to dig deeper, research, make phone calls, or get materially involved in some way.  It was probably when some news story broke about something that was going to affect your existence in a direct and tangible way:  such as your bank account or personal safety and security.

If this is the case, then you have some catching up to do.  Because unless you are staying vigilant as Jackson warns, chances are you do not have the knowledge, context, and history to effectively contribute to the cause of liberty.  Thomas Jefferson had some sage words to say about this:

President Thomas Jefferson

President Thomas Jefferson

No nation is permitted to live in ignorance with impunity. –Thomas Jefferson to the Virginia Board of Visitors, 1821


I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power. –Thomas Jefferson in a letter to William C.Jarvis, 1820

So, now is the time to “inform [your] discretion with education.” Start with the basics; the building blocks of our nation.  Read the Declaration of Independence and the full Constitution–several times.  The Founders wrote differently back then.  It will take several readings to get the hang of it, but it is important.  Do not read an interpretation of these documents, but the original text!  Then move on to the Federalist Papers and Elliot’s Debates to understand the context of the framing of our nation.  There is also some excellent context in the Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, Volume I, Volume II, and Volume III.

This introductory reading list will begin to address the “ignorance” root in our analogy, but don’t stop there.  Continue to learn about how this nation was founded and designed to function.  This knowledge is one of the tools you will use to restore Constitutional governance.

“But, all of this is terribly overwhelming! I have a job and kids and other activities that occupy my time.  How will I ever afford to spend time on any of this?”

Let’s begin by asserting the following: we can’t afford not to spend time on this.  Should we fail to devote the time, we allow the “apathy” and/or “selfishness” roots to continue to thrive, and the cycle continues ad nauseam.  The good news is that you are not alone, there are millions of other Americans out there that have to play catch-up–probably as close as your next-door neighbor!  It begins with one other person to help educate each other and reset our expectations of those elected officials in whom we entrust our communities, states, and nation.  Iron sharpens iron!

Eventually the two of you will seek out others to share, learn, and get involved by engaging your public officials at all levels of government to “inform their discretion” and reset expectations.

Seek. Share. Learn. Engage.  Repeat.

I told you it would be long and arduous! But then again, we did not get into this predicament overnight!

So, let’s get back to that framework we talked about earlier, and see if we can put all of this into perspective.

Now, I am going to make some “radical” proposals, so buckle up!  (Actually, these ideas would not have been considered “radical” as recently as 65 – 70 years ago–in fact they were accepted as common-sense at the time).

Whether we know it or not, each of us uses some form of framework for making decisions in our life, both big and small.  For the small ones, it is probably sub-conscious and routine so it takes little thought...

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A Republic If You Can Keep It!

“A Republic, if you can keep it.”

These were the words Dr. Benjamin Franklin replied on the final day of deliberations at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 when asked about the type of government the delegates had created. Franklin was clearly alluding to the fact that a republic does not stand on its own; rather, it can only be maintained by an involved and informed citizenry. Only recently, more than two centuries later, does the largely apathetic population of the United States recognize the magnitude of Dr. Franklin’s sage words.

Our republic is failing. Among the symptoms are frequent Constitutional violations, over-spending, open hostility to the Christian faith, activist judges, unenforced borders, a wildly intrusive federal government, and an underlying and radical progressive agenda by those hostile to our Constitutional Republic. In a healthy republic, these symptoms would only flare up briefly, to be attacked quickly and aggressively by the citizenry through their constitutionally elected representatives. However, the United States today is far from a healthy republic.

In a healthy republic, citizens would inform themselves about how their government should operate. They would read their founding documents—not just reading the words, but reading for understanding. Citizens would study their nation’s history—not just reading from textbooks, but reading from original sources written during the historical period. They would do this to ensure they were getting a factual representation and not someone’s personal revision of history. Yet, today, very little time is given to studying our founding documents, and the history we know is largely based on the textbooks we read in school or the documentaries we watch on television.

In a healthy republic, citizens have a very skeptical view of their government and take an active interest in politics because it is the only non-violent means by which they can restrain their government. They would engage their fellow citizens—one on one or in town meetings—to debate the merits of legislative proposals or the actions taken by their government. Citizens would be in frequent contact with their elected representatives to ensure that their government did not overstep their mandate. Yet, today our interest is only raised when we personally witness a direct and measurable consequence to our personal lives. Even then, all we say is “someone should do something about that!”

Ours is the only country in the history of mankind that has survived as long as it has under the same founding document. The reason for this was described by Dr. Franklin when the Constitutional Convention reached a deadlock as to the question of representation. He urged the delegates to pray each morning before undertaking the debates saying:

Franklin, Benjamin-402x402

Dr. Benjamin Franklin

“I’ve lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing Proofs I see of this Truth — That God governs in the Affairs of Men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that except the Lord build the House they labor in vain who build it. I firmly believe this, — and I also believe that without his concurring Aid, we shall succeed in this political Building no better than the Builders of Babel”

 –Dr. Benjamin Franklin


The events leading up to and including the Constitutional Convention were divinely inspired. It is only by the grace of God that our nation was formed as a Constitutional Republic and has endured this long. However as Ronald Reagan said…

President Ronald Reagan

President Ronald Reagan

“Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and lost it, have never known it again.”

–President Ronald Reagan

The key to saving our country is to engage our citizenry politically again. Politics is not dirty. I know that is the stigma attached to it today, but our founders recognized politics for what it is: a key to preserving our liberties. Politics is not dirty, it is the people practicing politics that are dirty. It is like the old adage about money: money is the root of all evil (which has morphed over the centuries from the original biblical source: 1 Timothy 6:10). No, money is just a tool. It can be used for good or for bad. It is the people who spend the money that have the capability to be evil.

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