04Jul8:57 amEST

If You Can Keep It

As Benjamin Franklin was walking out of Independence Hall in Philadelphia after the Constitutional Convention in 1787, someone shouted towards him, “Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?”

Sharp and witty as ever, Frankly responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Some 233 years later, those words seem more relevant now than ever. 

On this Independence Day, we remember the Preamble to our Constitution which notes, in part, that we are to strive for "a more perfect Union." It is this struggle for a better Republic which defines us: Not perfection, nor holding our history or historical figures to the unattainable (for any civilization) standard of perfection, but rather accepting the imperfect history and recognizing that our overall Republic remains unparalleled in the history of the world...for as long as we can keep it. 

On a separate note, the above photo is something I have posted on Instagram from time to time as I keep that item close to my grill during the summer. 

A little background about it: I bought it on a long summer road trip just over ten years ago. On that trip, I went to Little Big Horn Battlefield (Custer's Last Stand), Yellowstone National Park, and Mount Rushmore (I highly recommend visiting all three places).

I bought "Uncle Sam's Fireworks Stand" in one of the many small shops in Keystone, South Dakota, which of course is the town in the Black Hills region of the state where millions of visitors flock to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial every year. I remember the shop where I bought it, with some very nice ladies working there. The shop had tons of interesting antiques, trinkets, and souvenirs. I probably could have bought several boxes worth of items and spent much longer in the shop than I did. 

But the memory of that shop and those ladies came back to me last night with the President speaking at Mount Rushmore amid protests--That's what I thought of, whether their shop would be harmed or not, rather than making some grandiose political statement. 

Happy Fourth of July.

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