After a recent appearance on the radio program Coast to Coast, a listener emailed me the following note: “We are definitely NOT a Democracy. I feel that it’s dangerous to not distinguish between a Democracy and a Constitutional Republic. This is one of the reasons our govt is in such a mess…WE THE PEOPLE do not understand our govt!”
As Jack Benny would have said, Well! (Does anybody out there remember that greedy practioner of the one liner? With just one word he would convey so much worried yet ironic contemplation of a conundrum that the audience would break up in anticipation.)
I still believe in the old adage of Lincoln–of a government of the people, for the people and by the people–if, for nothing else, because we still haven’t become a military dictatorship. Sure, there is chicanery in government–and yes, votes are sometimes erased, stolen or dismissed, but never on the scale of, say Argentina, or Venezuela. Sure, that’s awful, when the U.S. has to compare itself to failed states to look good but that is the way of the world today.
If only the good voters of West Palm Beach had put on their reading glasses in 2000, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in right now. Of course, if Al Gore had had the cojones to go to Washington and denounce the Supreme Court decision, we wouldn’t be in Iraq right now either but that’s another what-if.
My point is, even a republican form of government must depend upon the consent of the governed–which is basically what democracy really means. We can still make a difference–and yes, your vote counts. Do we want another eight years of the Reagan/Bush continuum that has ruled the country since 1980, or do we dare hope and vote for a change.
I know what my choice is. What about you?