Last Sunday, thousands of New York City Marathon runners and spectators swelled the citys population, engaging in one of the most hopeful and strenuous events in the civilized world. A post-marathon Monday always reminds me of lovers walking in the park after their first night together. There is the feeling of possibility, a world on the verge.
Running, in New York City, was not always a spectator sport, unless you count the schoolchildren in my old neighborhood, trying to hold onto their lunch-money by outrunning the bullies. (We were fun to watch, Im told.)
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If you can keep it
As the story goes, when Benjamin Franklin emerged from the Constitutional Convention, a woman approached him and asked what kind of government the new nation would be getting. A republic, madam, Franklin reportedly said, if you can keep it.
Franklin knew that there would be many pressures upon the system that the Founders had designed, pressures that could cause the then-fledgling republic to mutate into something else. Despite those pressures, that system has managed, in one way or another, to survive a civil war, two world wars (three, if you count the Cold War as one), several economic meltdowns, multiple waves of immigration and innumerable conflicts small and large, foreign and domestic.
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