Keeping our Republic? America's Descent into Pointless Political DebateSubmitted by PA Paul Pal on Tue, 01/01/2013 - 12:31
For years I have known that the United States was intended to be a Republic, not a Democracy. Shame on me, but until recently I never really thought why it matters so much. The constant bickering between Americans over who is correct, Republican, Independent, or Democrat; Right, Middle, or Left; Conservative, Moderate, or Liberal has done nothing to enhance our country at all.
Is it understandable that individuals have differing viewpoints? Of course. Should differing viewpoints be respected and, in the least, heard? Absolutely! The problem is that for the last 100 years, and more so recently, the argument over who is to blame and what is right or wrong seems to have taken precedent over what was intended: valuing every human being as special and protecting his/her rights regardless of how many people agree with him/her!
Just after the completion and signing of the Constitution, in reply to a woman's inquiry as to the type of government the Founders had created, Benjamin Franklin said, "A Republic, if you can keep it."
Now, to fully understand Franklin's statement, one must understand what a Republic is.
b (1) : a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law
The last part is key: "...AND GOVERNING ACCORDING TO THE LAW"
Why is that so important? Though having its flaws(which the Founding Fathers understood) our law, the U.S. Constitution, is special due to its focus on limiting the power of the National Government and because of the first ten amendments added to it called the Bill of Rights. Since a Republic is only as strong as the law that governs it, many of the Founders refused to ratify the Constitution unless it was guaranteed that the Bill of Rights would be added. The Bill of Rights would guarantee the rights of each individual person being respected(not fully legally realized unfortunately until after the Civil War).
So how does this discussion of a Republic apply to today? I believe that many influential and powerful people exist in the world today who love to create turmoil between differing factions within our society and nurture animosity between those with varying viewpoints. By doing so, the average citizen is distracted by pointless debates and politicians from all parties, who the elite have in their back pockets, are allowed to disregard their oath to defend and follow the U.S. Constitution and, in doing so, weaken our Republic.
We are slowly becoming more of a Democracy, which rewards Mob Rule, and less of a Republic. Basically, even if 90% of the citizens agree with a Bill vs. 10% who don't, in a Republic, the elected Representatives have a responsibility to weigh the Bill against the Constitution and see if it measures up. Their vote is to be based on the law, not public opinions.
Using the U.S. Constitution as a guide to determine how to vote on issues is what once made us great and the United States of America can become great again simply by our elected representatives actually using the law that we've had from the start. Political polls and pundits discussing issues may be entertaining and even educational, at times, but pointless if we are to heed Franklin's challenge to future generations of U.S. citizens.
It seems as though many Americans today, and most elected representatives at the National level who should know better, are more interested in figuring out who is superior in the court of public opinion rather than "keeping our Republic". It is time for ALL Americans to say enough is enough, stop bickering over which party is better when both have greatly failed our Republic, and demand that their elected officials actually read and understand the intent of the U.S. Constitution and honor their oath to defend it. If they choose not to honor their oath, then vote in someone who will, regardless of what the name of their party happens to be. The future of our Republic depends on that.
Congressional Oath of Office:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.