Monday, September 14, 2009

Better Than Democracy?

"A Republic - If You Can Keep It" by Belanne Pibal Those were the words of Benjamin Franklin upon being asked what kind of government the new nation had after the vote was taken to approve the Constitution. Yet, there is very little mention in the mainstream media these days about our republic. Schools for decades have taught that the USA is a democracy so maybe the media and so many of the adults who believe the same thing can be forgiven. However, it is imperative that Americans, as a nation know the difference between a democracy and a republic if we wish to keep our republic. In a democracy, the majority rules. The majority can vote each other out of house, home and freedom. The majority can vote in sharia law if they want. In a democracy, individuals have very little recourse if they want to go against the will of the majority. That's one of the reasons our founding fathers declined to make this nation into a democracy. In the words of James Madison, "Democracies have been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and in general have been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death." How many times have Americans been bombarded by the notion of spreading freedom and democracy to other nations? In reality, we can only spread one, because freedom is incompatible with democracy. You can have one or the other, but not both. If we could spread the American form of government abroad, that would be spreading freedom, but democracy?, no. So what is a republic? If democracy is so unstable and violent, what is a republic and why is it more desirable than a democracy? The Oxford American dictionary defines a republic as "A country in which the supreme power is held by the people or their elected representatives or by an elected or nominated president." That may sound the same as a democracy, but it is not. In the case of America, it means that the people have approved a Constitution to define the powers of the government. This is one of the reasons why many Americans are upset about the president's speech to our children. The president is elected to serve America, not to turn our youngest Americans into government servants. In the debate to approve the Constitution in Pennsylvania, one of the delegates, Mr. Wilson stated that the supreme power of the uniquely American form of government resides in the people. "The truth is, that, in our governments, the supreme, absolute, and uncontrollable power remains in the people. As our constitutions are superior to our legislatures, so the people are superior to our constitutions. Indeed, the superiority, in this last instance, is much greater; for the people possess over our constitutions control in act, as well as right. The consequence is, that the people may change the constitutions whenever and however they please. This is a right of which no positive institution can ever deprive them." In a republic, we each have a personal responsibility to oversee and correct the government when it infringes on individual rights. In America, we are to do that by electing people of good character to office - regardless of their party affiliation. And "We the People" retain the right to change those legislators and even the Constitution itself. The supreme power of our government resides with the people, but not in such a way that the majority can run roughshod over the rights of the individual. That is the essential difference between a democracy and a republic. The question before Americans now is still "Can we keep it?" Belanne Pibal is a Liberty Features Syndicated Writer Cool Hats & Shirts for Cool Conservatives Leave a Comment... Chicago News Bench RSS Feed We're on Twitter...