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Ben Franklin's favorite bird -- stuffed with high crimes and misdemeanors

Jamie Stiehm on

The turkey, Benjamin Franklin felt, should be America's national bird.

Philadelphia's dear old sage is making a comeback this holiday for other reasons as we baste the bird for Thanksgiving -- or impeachment.

You can't turn a corner in the Capitol without hearing someone speak Franklin's adage, "A republic, if you can keep it."

That's what Franklin said upon emerging from the Constitutional Convention, to a woman's anxious query about what kind of government emerged from the ether.

This woman's spirit is alive in Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Leading the impeachment inquiry, she's now basting the House bird, stuffed with high crimes and misdemeanors.

Franklin is still Philadelphia's most beloved citizen. His spirit dwells on the river, the parkway and Independence Hall. He founded the University of Pennsylvania: one more connection to the here and now.

 

President Donald Trump brags about attending the university's Wharton School of Business, though there's no transcript to show for it.

Perhaps Franklin foresaw "keeping the republic" would one day come under threat from within. He wrote down classic American advice to be thankful for, some dozen virtues for business conduct, fair play and life. (See, he thought of everything, not only electricity.)

Franklin was America's first self-help author and a student of character -- or the lack thereof.

Here goes. One of his virtues is silence. "Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling conversation."

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Copyright 2019 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
 

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