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When he was a young man, Benjamin Franklin wired together a set of batteries he had just invented and used them to shock turkeys slated for a Thanksgiving feast. Thus he added yet another invention to his list: the fried turkey. “The birds killed in this manner eat uncommonly tender,” he wrote.

After election seasons such as the one past, and when facing “fiscal cliffs” like the one looming, it’s therapeutic to gaze back through history’s haze and catch the eye of Franklin, the Founding Father who winks at us. The twinkle behind his bifocals reassures us that things will turn out all right.

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