Happy Fourth!

When asked what form of government the Constitutional Congress had created for America, Benjamin Franklin replied:  “A republic...if you can keep it.”

The United States turns 242 years old today. We are no longer the sole democracy on earth, but are joined by a majority of the world's countries - countries that derive their just power from the consent of the governed. Countries where many of our members live, work, and raise our families.

In the course of the past year, we've been reminded that democracy's many blessings - civil rights, the freedom to express our thoughts and opinions, the right to due process, the right to vote itself - can be subjected to abuse and injury. We've been shown that we must strive to nourish the very flame that spread the fire of independence around the world two centuries ago.

In a few short months Americans abroad and in the States have the opportunity to vote in the most momentous midterms of our lives. When we cast our ballots in November, we will be casting them not just for individuals but in support of democracy, in support of equality, political freedom and the rule of law.  

I urge you today to not allow this opportunity to pass you by. Request your ballot, learn who your candidates will be. And then fan that flame of support - reach out to every American you know and ask them to do the same thing. 

Thank you for your efforts. Thank you for your support, and happy Fourth of July!