“A republic, if you can keep it.” Benjamin Franklin’s famous response (Sept 1787) to Elizabeth Willing Powel’s question: “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” was as much a warning as it was a description of an ideal America as a state in which the sovereignty resides in the people and the legislative and administrative powers are lodged in officers elected by them.
It is now 2024 and the republic to which he referred no longer exists. Were he alive today Franklin might be tempted to respond with “An empire – if you can defeat it” as the means of both defining the nation and of recovering its republican status.
Our guest Salim Mansur argues that America’s descent from a free republic to a coercive empire was accelerated and completed during the period between the election of Woodrow Wilson in 1912 and the installation of Joe Biden in 2020. “We are now in a post-constitutional America,” he says.
America’s republican status was dismantled thanks to the imposition of the federal income tax, the 17th amendment which “democratized” the election of senators, the establishment of the federal reserve (1913) and other legislation making “America now the world’s biggest threat to individual rights.”
As an empire, America suffers from the “disease of the empire” which Salim describes as a nullification of freedom at home and the coercion of people abroad. Ultimately all empires are little more than military rule.
Despite all of this corruption and power, the good news is that the vast majority of “we the people” has begun to see America and its global empire for what it has become. With world-wide protests and demonstrations against their own politicians, to say nothing of the unprecedented popularity of Donald Trump, the rulers of the empire are beginning to be uncomfortably aware that their empire may soon be struck out.
For that reason, we are in “uncharted waters” when it comes to predicting what the empire’s elites may do to strike back in their state of desperation. It looks like 2024 will be the decisive year in which Americans will choose between living in an empire or in a constitutional republic. So far it looks like they’ll choose to do what is Just Right by striking out an empire and choosing to keep a republic as their home’s base.
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