“Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.” – James Bovard
A Republic or a Democracy? That is the question. Republicans argue that we live in a republic and Democrats argue we live in a democracy. Dr. James McHenry, one of Maryland’s delegates to the Constitutional Convention recorded this exchange with Ben Franklin. “A lady asked Dr. Franklin – Well Doctor what have we got, a republic or a monarchy. A republic, replied the Doctor, if you can keep it.”
History, of course, has had other Republics – many of which have failed. Our founders were inspired to create something more. Borrowing from all-knowing Wikipedia.com, let’s take a look at what a republic and a democracy really are:
“A republic is a form of government in which the government is officially apportioned to the control of the people, or a significant portion of which, and where offices of state are subsequently directly or indirectly elected or appointed. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of state is not a monarch. The word republic is derived from the Latin phrase res publica, which can be translated as “the public affair”, and often used to describe a state using this form of government.”
“Democracy is an egalitarian form of government in which all the citizens of a nation together determine public policy, the laws and the actions of their state, requiring that all citizens (meeting certain qualifications) have an equal opportunity to express their opinion. In practice, “democracy” is the extent to which a given system approximates this ideal, and a given political system is referred to as “a democracy” if it allows a certain approximation to ideal democracy. Although no country has ever granted all its citizens (i.e. including minors) the right to vote, most countries today hold regular elections based on egalitarian principles, at least in theory.”
As you can see from both of these definitions, the United States government is a good example of both a republic and a democracy. But there is more to our government, isn’t there? Let’s look at a federacy:
“A federacy is a form of government with features of both a federation and unitary state. In a federacy, at least one of the constituent parts of the state is autonomous, while the other constituent parts are either not autonomous or comparatively less autonomous. The autonomous constituent part enjoys a degree of independence as though it was part of federation, while the other constituent parts are as independent as subunits in a unitary state. This autonomy is guaranteed in the country’s constitution. The autonomous subunits are often former colonial possessions or are home to a different ethnic group from the rest of the country. These autonomous subunits often have a special status in international relations.”
This is also a fit because we use autonomous subunits called states. Let’s look at one more definition – federalism:
“Federalism is a political concept in which a group of members are bound together by covenant (Latin: foedus, covenant) with a governing representative head. The term “federalism” is also used to describe a system of the government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and constituent political units (like states or provinces). Federalism is a system based upon democratic rules and institutions in which the power to govern is shared between national and provincial/state governments, creating what is often called a federation. Proponents are often called federalists.”
“Federalism in the United States is the evolving relationship between state governments and the federal government of the United States. American government has evolved from a system of dual federalism to one of associative federalism. In “Federalist No. 46,” James Madison asserted that the states and national government “are in fact but different agents and trustees of the people, constituted with different powers.” Alexander Hamilton, writing in “Federalist No. 28,” suggested that both levels of government would exercise authority to the citizens’ benefit: “If their [the peoples’] rights are invaded by either, they can make use of the other as the instrument of redress.”
“Because the states were preexisting political entities, the U.S. Constitution did not need to define or explain federalism in any one section. However, it contains numerous mentions of the rights and responsibilities of state governments and state officials vis-à-vis the federal government. The federal government has certain express powers (also called enumerated powers) which are powers spelled out in the Constitution, including the right to levy taxes, declare war, and regulate interstate and foreign commerce. In addition, the Necessary and Proper Clause gives the federal government the implied power to pass any law “necessary and proper” for the execution of its express powers. Powers that the Constitution does not delegate to the federal government or forbid to the states—the reserved powers—are reserved to the people or the states. The power delegated to the federal government was significantly expanded by the Supreme Court decision in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), amendments to the Constitution following the Civil War, and by some later amendments—as well as the overall claim of the Civil War, that the states were legally subject to the final dictates of the federal government.”
We know that there were many casualties in the Civil War. The greatest casualty of all was our freedom and the 10th Amendment in the Bill of Rights, which secured state’s rights. Since this time, the United States of America has been a mixed bag of federalism as the national government grabs more and more power from the states. Freedom can be rediscovered, but we must return to our founder’s principles of checks and balances and state’s rights – known to lovers of freedom as a Constitutional Republic.
Many proponents of globalization today (including Trump and Hillary) see a utopia on the horizon as power becomes more and more centralized. They argue that everything is more efficient when done together on a massive scale. What they fail to see is the benefit of diversification. Our founders recognized that people closest to the problem have the best chance of correcting it. In addition, with diversification, when one government fails, it does not affect the entire globe and others are able to come to the rescue of the failed government.
I have heard it said, “For things to change, we must change.” Or, “The definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing over and over and expect that things will change.”
We cannot continue to vote for people who will strip our freedoms and expect that we will regain our freedom in some way. Every voice that votes this year will be heard. Will your voice be heard voting for Trump or Hillary? Or, will your vote align with those people who understand the Constitution and support the conservative principles it proclaims? A Constitutional Republic is what I want and will vote for. It is the proven recipe for freedom’s success. Let freedom ring!