Monday, January 13, 2014

America: The Republic not Democracy

Breaking News: America Expels Democracy

      I pledge allegiance, to the flag, of the United States of America, and to the REPUBLIC for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all1 ...The original text of the Pledge of Allegiance was written by a socialist minister as an attempt to foster nationalism, and patriotism in the post civil war America. Yes, its because of an anti-capitalist that every schoolhouse around the nation has flags for kids to salute to every morning, sounds like the beginning of a bar joke. 

No matter how important or unimportant you think the pledge is, there are a few terms within the text that are overwhelmingly seen as representative of American values (even if only by its own people). There is justice....liberty...and then there's the word republic. Republic? Was Francis Bellamy referring to the Good Old Party of today? Maybe, this was a foreshadowing of George Lucas's version of galactic order.

      According to Webster a republic is, "a country that is governed by elected representatives and by an elected leader (such as a president) rather than by a king or queen."2 The word republic can be found in the United states constitution; Article 4, Section 4 requires states to have "republican forms of government"... This may or may not incite a knee jerk reaction from you. Why doesn't it say democratic. America has always been the protector of democracy. We have even gone so far as to daub ourselves the proprietor of democracy. If we think back to the Iraqi insurgency, one of our main goals were to, "install a democratic government" a la Monsieur George Bush.

      Throughout history democracy is as American as apple pie, moonshine, and freedom fries. But for some reason the word has been left out of The Declaration of Independence, our Pledge of Allegiance, and  The Constitution of these United States. Why? Well...that is because the United States government is not a democracy. Shocking. This may seem debatable but it is very straightforward. The founding fathers of this "magnificent" nation disagreed on a lot of things. They weren't too sure on how to balance power amongst the young American government, there was disagreement on religious values, and a few of them may have quietly fought about the ethics of slavery. But what they did overwhelmingly agree upon was that democracy was the absolute worst form of government. Benjamin Rush compared democracy to the "devils work" and called it one of the "greatest evils". Benjamin Franklin said, "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!" It was no mistake leaving the word out of their documents, cursing it's utterance similar to "he who should not be named". The reasons for their disgust are clear as is the reasons why you cannot go five minutes without hearing the word from everyone in politics, from Marco Rubio, and John Boehner, Hillary and Obama.

What is Democracy?

      Democracy literally means, "the rule of man". The Greeks of Athens had the first documented democracy. Their brand of direct democracy went as so: The important men of Athens would come together and manufacture laws. Everything from what to do with poop to how to deal with Socrates was written out. Then "every eligible" citizen would go and vote yea or nea. The majority vote would go through. This is a direct democracy, this is the direct rule of people ruling over each other with equal power. In this system of government the majority of people rule without contest.3

      This is one of the exact reasons the founding fathers were against such a form of government. They wanted the furthest thing from a direct democracy.

      If this country was even a representative democracy. The people would vote for representatives directly. Then as in the direct democracy the majority voted candidate has absolute power. The will of the majority of citizens would be law. America has what Ben Franklin, John Adams and John Marshall all were fixated on, the republican form of government. Before we go into what exactly that is, it important to note that the republic the founding fathers were talking about is different from that of Machiavelli's writings.

We can look to John Marshal's Federalist Papers #10 to see what exactly the point of this republic form of governing is.  

          "If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote. It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution. When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular Government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens..."4                    
                                                                                 -John Marshall

      Poetry ain't it? Marshall warned that the democracy leads to what is called "mob rule". This allows the majority power without protection of the minorities within a state. The republic provides for protections for every citizen equally. This is accomplished through a constitution. Liberty not equality is more important in a republic. In America representatives are voted by citizens indirectly. We have electoral colleges and party bosses that filter the masses from directly deciding who actually makes laws and passes them. Most importantly the constitution gives freedoms, and dictates exactly what powers each branch and state governments have. This is the most important aspect of the republic. A republic is the rule of law. Law can be stepped over by none; no matter how many guns the majority have, or how much money the majority have...well, in theory.


Why do Politicians lie?

I don't mean in general of course. In order to campaign effectively lying just comes with the territory. But I mean why speak of these democratic ideals when we have a republic?
      Imagine live in the democratic nation of America, in the state of New York. There is a referendum up for vote about pants regulations. This bill includes restrictions on super short and/or tight pants, super baggy pants, sagging of pants on men, and women are no longer allowed to wear pants. Come voting day the referendum is passed thanks to a super conservative faction rallying voters. This being a national vote, immediately becomes law, there are no restrictions on the government protecting rights of citizens not in the majority.
      This was the fear of the founding fathers. They really feared  democracy would restrict trousers! But this fear (Democracy) has become the hallmark of any political campaign. Why would politicians use the word democracy. Well...Campaigns are full of what is called subversion of language. When your senator speaks of protecting democracy, he is allowing you to make democracy synonymous with himself. Knowing that democracy coincides with equality you the people are led to believe that they support equality. Universal Equality! This is not the case.

They support a republic. In essence they support an ideal that the masses cannot organize enough, and are not capable to rule with efficiency. Which is why we need to indirectly elect the brightest, most morally sound of us all. (After a party chooses whom is the best of the best for us) Politicians don't want to be known as promoters of this elitist style of government. Law is not a very attractive speaking point. Though, it is a system they work in, being "a champion of Equality sounds way better."
      Now we can see through subversive language. Thanks to our founding fathers we have avoided mob rule. So new citizens of the republic, try and call as it is, a spade a spade. And remember you can't loose what you never had.