The unifying power of security

When Benjamin Franklin emerged onto the steps of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall at the close of the 1787 Continental Convention, he was asked whether the Founding Fathers had decided on a monarchy or a republic. “A republic, if you can keep it,” he reportedly said.

Only once has the ability to keep that republic been in serious doubt – in the years up to and during the Civil War. Could it be in doubt again today? If so, security can be a model for preserving the republic.

How did we get here? Long, unstable fault lines in the bedrock that undergirds U.S. society have become active, sending seismic waves that have shaken the social contract. Citizens can’t agree on basic facts. People question whether COVID-19 is real amid shifting medical advice and conflicting data on case and death rates. The footing keeps getting less stable. Economic freefall. Surging unemployment. White supremacists, fascists and anarchists boldly emerging from the shadows. Loss of faith in law enforcement by swaths of the populace after black citizens perished in police custody. Rampant misinformation campaigns by anonymous groups and nations. The result is a bitterly split populace that has retreated to their respective echo chambers….

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