Friday, February 27, 2009

The Republic

"...and to the Republic for which it stands; one nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all."

The Republic?

Now begins a history lesson:

Democracy is the great standard by which counties are measured. Democracy allows a free people to elect leaders and guide their country by the votes of the majority. I believe that the goal and standards of democracy are a good thing, but our focus on democracy has allowed us to gloss over the spirit of the law, which our founders understood so well. Our founding fathers have been sadly forgotten. Our constitution, was meant to guide our country down a prosperous path. Where prosperity could be measured, not only by monetary wealth, but by values, liberty, and freedom.

Democracy is loosely defined as a system where the majority rules, by the active participation of a free people. This is a good thing. However, a total democracy has some interesting caveats. Can you think of a time when "majority rules" is a bad thing? We have seen examples of groups of people within the last year that have been "defeated" by democracy, yet they scream foul play. California Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California, was passed by a majority of voters.

So what's the problem?

This group of people thinks that their natural and inalienable rights have been violated. I think perhaps, to some of these people, democracy has failed. (I use proposition 8 as an example only, not to highlight a position either way on whether I agree with it or not. I will offend some republicans when I get into this issue.) This is where our republican principles are founded, and I believe this is a sorely forgotten and maligned principle. A republic is similar to a democracy, except that the rule of the simple majority can be trumped by the rule of law. Our constitution lays out this law. For instance, our constitution says that one of our inalienable rights is the freedom of speech. I can speak whatever I wish, where no consequences exist by my words. I might have a radio station that speaks to a lot of people. Let's say that a small majority of people get together and say that I can't speak my mind any longer, they want "fairness." Lucky for me, one of my basic rights is the freedom of speech. It will take much more than a simple majority to shut me up.

Assignment: Lookup the "fairness doctrine" that is being proposed in the congress. Do you think it could take away the basic rights of free speech laid out in the constitution?

This is where the supermajority comes in. Our forefathers saw that the basic rights of the people could not be trusted with a simple majority. We need a vast percentage weighing in on these issues to change our laws. This might mean that 2/3 of people must vote for some law to be passed.

I see much of our law being violated in the name of goodness, aid, emergency. We have forgotten our roles as voters. We cannot responsibly elect our leaders, if we blindly lay the interpretation of our laws into their hands. We must learn the best course of action and guide our leaders to our end. We must restore our republic.

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