What with the incredible presidential election, there’s been a lot of talk about democracy lately. I like democracy. As Winston Churchill pointed out, it’s the worst form of government except for all the others. I give it an A minus.
But some listeners tell me, “Hey, America is a republic, not a democracy.” They stress the problems with unfettered majority rule. It’s wrong to have two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner, they say. And they’re right.In America, no majority can tell us how to worship, what we can or cannot say, how to live our lives. We don’t vote on absolutely everything. There are constitutional limits that protect our freedom to make our own personal choices.Maybe there should be even more limits on what can be voted on than there are. But we do vote. We do decide some things democratically.
Thomas Jefferson referred to the United States as a “democratic republic,” and I think that’s right. After the Constitution was crafted in 1789, Ben Franklin was asked what form of government the congress had given the country. “A Republic,” said Franklin, “if you can keep it.” Democracy as such competitive elections, votes that matter, citizens making decisions is not a threat to our Republic. True, many things should not be decided by the government.
But when it is appropriate for ‘We the People’ to act, we should be allowed to act. That means democracy.
This is Common Sense.Â I’m Paul Jacob.