Republics And Democracies-Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off
I am an ex-right wing nut job. It went against everything I actually stand for. I learned total contempt for everything that makes us a thriving body politic. I sided with authoritarians, warmongers and bigots. That was officially a long time ago. I am now a happy, unblocked, unabashed red diaper baby(eat shit, Michael Savage), the way all true Americans should be. No need to elucidate, I just need to throw that out there before I proceed with today’s rant.
As I said in my last post, the Internet is full of self-educated folk. Anyone can now be informed to the point where it may not be good for them. Just because you read something, it doesn’t mean you understand it. I love that line in A Fish Called Wanda where Jamie Lee Curtis lets loose on Kevin Kline-“Otto, apes read Nietzsche, they just don’t understand it”. And what is one of the most misunderstood pieces of material in this way? It ain’t quantum theory. It happens to be, almost frighteningly, the document that shapes the way we govern this crazy country.
Even the brightest academics can’t come to an agreement on what parts of it mean. What chance do we stand as serial Googlers to apprehend it properly? I want to focus on one persistent conservative trope, one I used to parrot for some reason. I delighted in reminding my erstwhile liberal debate opponents that we are a republic, not a democracy. See what I mean about blind deference to authority? I said that to belittle the often fractious vox populi. I used it as a cudgel to scoff at the American people’s will. I thought “democracy” was for dupes.
This idea is legion in conservative circles, the so-called champions of liberty. The Federalist Papers, the arguments for the new Constitution and the replacement government for the feckless Articles of Confederation, contain passages rather disdainful of democracy too. Some of our framers were not, as is often assumed, fond of the freedom to speak and be heard. It took ages for us to disabuse us of the notion that only certain people should have a voice.
The truth is, this is a democracy. We vote our leaders in to represent us. We vote on which laws should be enacted. If that ain’t democracy, I don’t know what is. The deal is, we are guaranteed a republican form of government to stop the slide back into despotism and monarchy, not because we are afraid of democracy. Republic, democracy, it’s the same damn thing in practice. We are a Republic of states, and we the people control who represents us in democratic fashion. I guess if you wanted to be technical, this is a democratic republic, which is redundant in a way. This is a good place to read some fundamentals regarding the Guarantee Clause. Let’s put this nonsense to rest already.