Mr. Franklin’s Neighborhood !

This post is from Michael Harrison, a patriot who writes in defense of liberty. For more follow this link:

Recently, my sweetheart and I took a day trip to Philadelphia and spent several hours in the old historic district of the city. It was our desire to visit (or revisit in my case) a few of the key historic points of interest.

Leaving our car, we walked to Independence Hall and took several photos from across the street. We then went to see about getting in to see the Liberty Bell. There was a very long line as there were many school groups there on this day, so we opted to return later and crossed the street to the visitor center.

In the visitor center, we picked up a map and got information from a very helpful young man. We were disappointed to learn that there were only late afternoon tickets remaining for a tour of Independence Hall, for which we could not stay. Having been there before, I took consolation in the fact that Congress Hall next to it required no tickets and toured every 20 minutes.

After snapping a picture beside a life-size Ben Franklin figure, we encountered a Ben Franklin look-alike dressed in period costume coming into the visitor center as we were exiting. I remarked, “Oh, we were just headed over to your gravesite.” To which he responded, “Well, I was there until this morning.”

Smiles on our faces, walked a couple of blocks over to his gravesite which can now be viewed from the sidewalk through a fence without having to enter the cemetery. The marker appeared to be well kept and its inscription was very readable. Many people, like us, came by to pay him homage. We took several pictures of his grave and the mounted plaque on the wall nearby which listed his life accomplishments.

Crossing the street, we stood in line to get into the U.S. Mint. We were required to produce a photo ID (show me your papers, please). Between the two of us, we questioned the value and appropriateness of being asked for an ID. The guard only looked for a second or two at them before handing them back. He must see hundreds of them every day. And can he really be effective at preventing an attack or other misdeed by simply seeing an ID?

Once inside the door, we had to go through security similar to (though not as intensive as) TSA airport security. Pockets had to be emptied, belts removed if they contained metal, watches off, etc. It always bothers me because of its inconvenience and the time lost.

Going through my mind was the question, “What would Franklin think of all this?” His grave was literally across the street from us. We had just paid our respects to him. He it was who famously said that those who give up liberty for safety deserve neither. Here we are in America accepting the curtailing of our Fourth Amendment right to be secure in our papers, property, and effects – all in the name of being safe. Once liberties are given up, they are very difficult (if not impossible) to regain. It may require the shedding of blood to restore them.

The self-guided tour of the mint was enjoyable, especially for a coin collector like myself. It was fascinating to see the entire process and machinery used to generate our modern coins. The speed at which they are made is incredible.

Leaving the mint, we went down the street a couple blocks to the Betsy Ross home – a very small house on a very old and busy street. We took pictures of the house and her grave which is across a little courtyard.

Proceeding next to Elfreth’s Alley, we were treated to an individualized tour by a volunteer down America’s oldest residential street. It is literally an alley – wide enough for only one vehicle to pass (though blocked off from traffic). We discovered the meaning of “busy body” – a small angled mirror device mounted outside a second story window so occupants can see what’s happening up and down the street.

We returned to the Liberty Bell memorial and found a somewhat shorter line and determined to wait it in. Once again, upon entering, we had to endure the security routine. But once through it, we went rather quickly past the displays that were focusing on slavery and women’s rights to get to the bell itself. Frankly, slavery and women’s rights were not the concerns of the founders of our nation and had nothing to do with the Liberty Bell. To me, it’s taking advantage of a historical artifact to indoctrinate us. Again my mind was asking, “Would the founders approve?”

The bell was, of course, inspiring. The loosely-used argument of “separation of church and state” is eroded in one’s mind upon seeing the biblical inscription at the top of the bell: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof – Lev. XXV:X”.

After taking some photos of the bell, we headed across the street to Congress Hall, passing once again through a security checkpoint where all the same inconveniences were put upon us. Congress Hall is a small building next to Independence Hall, but very important. It was the meeting place of the House of Representatives and Senate for about ten years when Philadelphia was our nation’s capital. The House met downstairs and the Senate upstairs. The House chamber was more basic and ordinary compared to the more ornate and stylish Senate chamber. The guide was very knowledgeable and identified many interesting facts of history.

On the way back to our car we paused at a memorial dedicated to patriots – patriots who stood for, fought for, and in some cases gave their life’s blood for liberty.

Our day trip was enjoyable and informative, but continuing to run through my mind was the question of what the founders would think. What would Franklin and the signers of the Declaration think of what had become of the nation they gave birth to? No doubt, they would be pleased by the growth and success of the nation to become the beacon of liberty that the rest of the world would look to and admire. But would they approve of the huge invasive monstrosity of a government we have today? Would they approve of the confiscatory tyrannical practices of this government and its agencies and bureaucracies? Would they approve of the watering down of the Fourth Amendment in the interest of safety and security? Would they approve of tarnishing the memory of the Liberty Bell with indoctrination and social engineering, when the bell stood for their opposition against tyrannical government?

Would they approve? We may only know the answer to this question by examining their writings and statements in their historic context to understand their thinking. Having done much reading myself, and having spent time around many others who have done much more reading and research than I, my conclusion is that they would be appalled.

Even sadder is the fact that it doesn’t have to be this way.

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