Letters to the editor
America is a Republic
I am tired of hearing the mainstream media refer to America as a democracy. I am also tired of elected officials doing the same. Somehow they both think that democracy is synonymous with freedom. We are not a democracy. In fact, the founding fathers found the concept of democracy very dangerous.
Democracy is majority rule at the expense of the minority. Our system of government has certain democratic elements, but the founders never mentioned democracy in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or the Declaration of Independence. In fact, our most important protections are undemocratic. For example, the First Amendment protects free speech. It doesn't matter if that speech is abhorrent to 51 % or more of the people. Speech is not subject to majority approval. Under our republic, the individual, the smallest of minorities, is protected from mob rule.
Sadly, the Constitution is respected less and less as we have quietly slipped into a militarist, corporatist, socialist democracy. Laws are ignored when convenient to those in power, while others in positions to check and balance do nothing. The protections the founders put in place are to limit government power to be the servant, not the master. This is why increased importance should be placed on the beliefs and views of the president. The very narrow limitations on government power are clearly stated in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution. Nowhere is there any reference to being able to force Americans to buy health insurance or face a tax/penalty, for example. Yet this power has been claimed by the executive branch and incredulously affirmed by Congress and the Supreme Court. Because we are a constitutional republic, the mere popularity of a policy should not matter. We are not a country to be governed by polls, but rather the rule of law. If a policy or law is in violation of the limits of government and the people still want it, a Constitutional amendment is the only appropriate way to proceed. However, rather than going through this process, the Constitution was ignored and the mandate was allowed anyway.
This demonstrates how there is now a great deal of unchecked power in the Oval Office and an apathetic Congress that allows personal views and preferences on the country so long as 51 % of the people can be convinced to vote a certain way. The other 49% are ignored and have much to be angry about and protest under this system.
We should not tolerate the fact that we have become a nation ruled by men, their whims and the mood of the day, and not laws. We are a republic, not a democracy and, as such, we should insist that the framework of the Constitution be upheld and respected. Leaders cannot and should not be able to cross those laws. These legal restraints on government guarantee that other men do not impose their will over the individual, rather , the individual is able to govern himself. When government is restrained, liberty thrives.