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Clendenning quotes Ben Franklin in support of U.S. constitution

Vox Pop

Here’s a speech by Benjamin Franklin, one of our founders of our present day Constitution which so many of you think is about to collapse.

“Mr. President, I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve . . . Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered. . . . I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number of men [should have been some women too] to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does. . . . Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure, that it is not the best. The opinions I have had of its errors, I sacrifice to the public good.”

Our constitution is not broken, what’s broken is the fact, no one seems to remember, it works only on reasoned political argument and debate. If reasoning does not amount to sequences of logical deductions from the evidence, what does it amount to? A bunch of lying politicians?

We all may feel free to invent our own meaning of our Constitution, base it on our own prejudices and political opinions, make up non-existent constitutional language to reach the results we desire, and the results will often be disastrous for all of us. But, like Franklin said, what do you expect, lies, politics and democracy, a fantasy world.

— M. Clendenning, Rib Lake