James Madison, in his last major speech to the delegates gathered at Virginia’s ratifying convention, commented “Nothing has excited more admiration in the world than the manner in which free governments have been established."
"Franklin was a practical man. Practical men usually do not make revoltuions; dreamers do. Yet Benjamin Franklin became a revolutionary with several million others in America. His action suggests of the ironies of the American Revolution: its sources in a culture of men devoted to the hard realities of life--practical men, down-to-earth men like Franklin himself, men who in 1776 threw off their allegiance to the empire in the name of "common sense," a phrase Thomas Paine had chosen as the title of his great tract on behalf of American Independence. That brings us to another irony: what seemed to be only common sense to Thomas Paine, and to most Americans in 1776, would have struck them as uncommon madness a dozen years before." (Robert Middlekauf, The Glorious Cause)
Most of us have a sense of irony nowadays too, as we celebrate a government and a country that we know have many, many problems. But they are ours to think about, to invest in, to improve, to redirect. And, to keep things in perspective, in case you feel that America is headed to hell in a handbasket, let's not forget that in the big picture of eternity, "The Captain of salvation is not so weak as to need an army and navy and a majority in Congress to support his Cause."
(Abraham Bishop of Conneticut, 1800.)
God Bless America! And with that, I'm off to a rodeo!