Benjamin Franklin, American

It’s no secret that Benjamin Franklin is my gold standard for quality when it comes to all things American. Lately, I’ve delved into a biography by H.W. Brands titled, The First American.┬áThe book starts off with our man Mr. Franklin before King George’s Privy Council. The king’s men give old Ben a wicked dressing down. As Mr. Brands says, a lesser man would have been humiliated. Not Benjamin Franklin. He knew this was the end, as in the end of his loyalty to Britain. It was also the beginning, though the revolution wouldn’t kick off for about two more yeas.

I’ve heard various discussions here in Philadelphia about Ben Franklin, his habits, his lusts, his failings. This is pop culture balderdash that deserves no more than a passing mention in non-permanent media outlets. In this regard I subscribe to the policy of letting the man without sin cast the first stone. Every human is fallible and subject to human weaknesses be they of the flesh, the emotions, or simply errors in judgement. In fact, I’d venture to say Ben Franklin had quite a few less flaws than many other so-called great men.

Thus, there is no shame, and in fact worthy pride, that Ben Franklin is held up as not only a founding father of the United States of America, but also an example of how to conduct one’s life. He was tolerant, ambitious, learned, and wise. What frightens me most is the view of the current crop of leadership held against his silhouette. The damn fools mucking up in government today seem hell bent on the abandonment, if not outright destruction, of the principles Franklin and his band of 19th Century radicals fought to establish. Today’s leadership palls in comparison. The founding father’s had their brawls, feuds, and fights. However most of them were more a matter of how to implement a successful strategy than over what the strategy should be.

And so in this election season, I’ll judge candidates by the Franklin Standard. If they bow to opinions beyond the border, if they see the United States as a cow to be milked by whiners and half-wits, and if they refute the proven principles of limited government over the self-reliant, well, then they’ll get neither my vote nor my sympathy. On the other hand, if they lead with boldness, unafraid to speak well of a nation that has done so much for so many, and put forth a platform that recognizes the necessity of individual solutions to seemingly collective problems, then I will make my mark by their name.

As Benjamin Franklin once said of the newly formed United States of America, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Published in: on September 12, 2008 at 3:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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