Howard Zinn

Founded, Not Forsaken: A Republic (if you can keep it)

Happy Fourth of July, folks.

"Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?"

"A Republic, if you can keep it."

      -- Ben Franklin to an unknown lady,
        per the notes of delegate Dr. James McHenry of Maryland.

We've been called worse. A corporatocracy, an oligarchy, a plutocracy...whichever the definition, they seem to be far and away quite different from the initial goal of a republic. But across all forms, regardless, is the ever-present and apparently common denominator of national pride, perversely corrupted and reduced to nationalism and jingoism.

The two should never, ever be mistaken for a true, uniquely American definition of "patriotism" nor should they ever be used to justify war or to quell dissent.