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Last Wednesday was Independence Day, the 242nd birthday of what George Washington called “The Great Experiment.” 

Many events have threatened the country through the years, from the flawed Articles of Confederation to the Civil War, the Great Depression, communism, fascism, the battle for civil rights and the backlash against the Vietnam War, just to name a few.
Most generations believe the times in which they live in are the worst ever, that things have “never been this bad before.” And today is no different. 
The election of President Donald Trump has polarized an already divided nation. Whether we believe that to be true or not, it begs the question: How do you feel about our nation? The Times took to Facebook to find out.
The responses we received included the following:
 
Tracey Pearson: In the people there is always hope.
 
Lynn Mullins James: I’m fortunate to live free in the USA!!
 
David Crummett: I love this country, always have always will. However, we as a country are at a crossroads for who are, were and will become. Our fate isn’t written but we need to figure out how we can all live together as one nation.
 
Josh Stevic: Freedom to live. Freedom to die. Freedom to serve. Freedom to speak. Freedom to print. Freedom to protect. Freedom to maintain. Freedom to vote. This is why I love the USA. I love our veterans. I love our president. I love that we can be great, will be great, should be great. Thank to those who serve, have served, and thank you to the men and women who gave their life for our freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
 
Patricia Mullins: I love this country but am ashamed of what this president and administration is doing to our democracy and our standing in the world. Our deficit is spiraling, our infrastructure is crumbling, Congress is not doing its job to put country first and to protect the Constitution and the citizens; racism and bigotry still exist and are being disguised as patriotism. I am not feeling pride or proud of the nation we are becoming, and I grieve for it.
 
The results were varied, but there was a thread connecting many of them. Some may agree with the president, some not. Some may take issue with an administration’s policies or how it comports itself on the world stage. But our collective love of the country — our admiration for the ideals laid out by our forefathers so many years ago in Philadelphia — are greater than any one man, or administration.
That is heartening. The founding fathers were dubious about the future of the nation. John Adams, in particular, noted the history of failure of republics. 
But we still believe, fragile as this great experiment might be, that our nation offers the best hope of a government of, by and for the people. 
We know in whose hands its future rests and are best reminded of it in the words of Benjamin Franklin, who at the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, when asked what they had wrought, replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”
 
 
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