U.S. never has been a direct democracy

Posted: Aug. 7, 2018 9:40 am

To The Herald-Whig:

This may come as a surprise to many because the word is constantly misused in the media and even by elected politicians, but America is not a democracy. It is a constitutional republic.

The Pledge of Allegiance says "... and to the republic for which it stands." You will not find the word democracy in the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution.

The founders despised the concept of a democracy and went to great lengths to avoid creating one. John Adams, who helped found America and served as its second president, said "Democracy, while it lasts, is more bloody than aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide."

Thomas Jefferson, who authored the Declaration of Independence and succeeded Adams as president, opined that "democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51 percent can take away the rights of the other 49 percent."

Hillary Clinton and the Democrats claim she should be president because she won the popular vote. But take California and New York out of the mix and the numbers change. Jefferson and the other Founders recognized that if presidential elections were determined by popular vote, a few populous states could seize control of the presidency indefinitely. So they gave us the Electoral College, which gives every state, regardless of population, a voice in presidential elections.

One of the most important differences between a democracy and a constitutional republic is that individual rights are not protected in a democracy. Add to that the fact that a democracy is, in the purest sense, anarchy. When you get right down to the nuts and bolts, the fundamental difference between a republic and a democracy is that a republic protects citizens from arbitrary power, while a democracy is arbitrary power. Under a democracy, the power of the government is defined by that government. And no matter how benign it may seem, eventually tyranny of the majority will always show itself in democratic style systems.

Adams said that "America is destined to be peopled by one nation, speaking one language, professing one general system of religious and political principles, and accustomed to one general tenor of social usages and customs."

By that definition, Adams' dream for the country he helped found has turned into a nightmare. Welcome to George Orwell's "1984."

William Mussetter