Wednesday, March 16, 2011

America is a Constitutional Republic...NOT a Democracy

How often have you heard people refer to America as a Democracy? When was the last time that you heard America referred to as a Republic? There is a very good reason that our Pledge of Allegiance refers to our country as a Republic and there is a very good reason that our Declaration of Independence and our constitution do not even mentioned the word "democracy". Many people are under the false impression that our form of government is a democracy, or representative democracy. This of course is not true.

Our Founders were extremely knowledgeable about the issue of democracy and feared a democracy as much as a monarchy. They understood that the only entity that can take away the people's freedom is their own government, either by being too weak to protect them from external threats or by becoming too powerful and taking over every aspect of life. The Founders were deliberately doing everything in their power to prevent having a democracy here. This quote is from John Adams in 1814 "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."

A Constitutional Republic does have some similarities to a democracy in that it uses a democratic processes to elect representatives and pass new laws, etc. The critical difference lies in the fact that a Constitutional Republic has a Constitution that limits the powers of the government. It also spells out how the government is structured, creating checks on its power and balancing power between the different branches. The goal of a Constitutional Republic was to avoid the extremes of a tyranny or dictator. However in the past few decades these checks and balances have been thrown off kilter by giving the Presidents given more power through signing statements. We also have "czars" that are not elected or even answer to congress.

In a Republic, the sovereignty resides with the people themselves. In a Republic, one may act on his own or through his representatives when he chooses to solve a problem. The people have no obligation to the government; instead, the government is a servant of the people, and is obliged to listen to its owner, We the People. Many people and politicians have seemed to have lost sight of that fact.

America today seems to be far from the Constitutional Republic our forefathers brought forth to us. The power seems to have switched from the people to the Government. The Founders believed that our rights were given to us from Natures God, not through regulations of the Government. They also believed that people might get things wrong, but "We the People" are smart enough to fix them and get it right.
I am asking again to have people to get involved in their government. To do this you need to take time to hold elected officials responsible by going to your school boards and city council meetings. Voice your opinion as the taxpayer; as the boss of those we have elected and of the people who work in the public sector.

Randy Kubetz
Wisconsin Citizens Involvement

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