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A 21st Century Message

28 Sep 2015, Posted by Founding Franklin in Get To Know Bill Robling
Bill Robling With Miss Pennsylvania

A 21st Century Message



When portraying Ben Franklin, it is always my intent to stay in character, being a “first-person” interpreter. Given, however, that I am called upon to do so many different things in that character, including events that lean more toward entertainment than history, from time to time things get a bit elastic.

This month it was my privilege and pleasure to welcome the contestants of the Miss America pageant to Philadelphia. Yes, sometimes it’s good to be Ben. We had a delightful time touring the Liberty Bell, and then going up to Franklin Square for food and fun. I found them to be wonderful, personable, intelligent and nice people. As Benjamin Franklin, I spoke to them in a twenty-first century context as we were gathered at the Liberty Bell.

I like to think that Dr. Franklin, being always ahead of the curve in his thought, might have said something like what I said.


“In the past, we have asked you simply to look pretty, smile, and say some platitudes. Thankfully, things have changed somewhat. We realize now your strength and power, though men, and sometimes women, have feared that power. I hope that you will use the power that you have right now to help make sure that at last the engine that drives this country is running on full power.”

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These young women are truly a different group from the beauty contestants of the past, and I hope they will do great things.

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