America was founded on key principles, values, and laws that stood in marked contrast to other nations. The founders had previously faced adversity, religious persecution, overreaching governments, and economic instability. Their great wisdom as they inaugurated America was deep-rooted and multi-faceted. As we navigate the often murky waters of today’s American politics, we can easily become discouraged and even feel hopeless. In his book, If You Can Keep It, Eric Metaxas reminds us of the real reasons why America is a great country and how we as citizens should view our liberties and freedoms. The title of the book comes from Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote, when asked what kind of government had been decided upon, “A republic, if you can keep it.” The United States of America had been formed as a self-governing body of people. Metaxas notes that the early Americans had come from monarchial governments, and their desire for true freedom led them to form a government that would allow their voices to not only be heard but be the impetus for progress, change, and stability. At the very heart of this was their faith. They were governed by a higher power that drove them to pursue virtue and character. But Metaxas says, “Religion itself could not properly function unless religion was detached from the government.” Certainly not absent from the government, but detached.
Existing as a country, not simply for our own country’s good, but for the good of other countries, Metaxas says is “certainly something extraordinary, but because of this we have been given the tremendous burden of stewarding and sharing what we have with the rest of the world.” America sets a standard, gives hope, provides aid, and offers an alternative to the vast majority of other governments. Metaxas goes on to say, “Our keeping it is not merely for our own sake.”
If You Can Keep It discusses how remembering the heroes of the past boosts us as we stand for the future. Their true heroics as they willingly gave their lives to preserve what America is inspires us today to continue to fight for the foundations of America. Metaxas encourages all Americans to “go forth and love America, knowing that if your love is true it will be transmuted one way or another into a love of everything that is good beyond America, which is her golden promise to the world, and a promise that we, you and I, must keep.”