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Wisconsin: Object lesson in why democracy doesn’t work

February 28, 2011

de·moc·ra·cy “Sovereignty in the many, that is, in the whole nation, the whole body, assemblage, congregation…of the whole people. This sovereignty must, in all cases, be exerted or exercised by the whole people assembled together. This form of government has seldom, if ever, existed but in theory” — John Adams

Words mean something and for too long we have embraced the term “democracy” to describe the essence of our political system.  Since we are in a sea change, where we are working to restore fiscal sanity, constitutional limits, and the free market, let’s add one more item to the list—our words.

We are not a “democracy” of direct rule by the people, but a “republic” of elected representatives based on democratic principles.   Say it with me, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States for America, and to the Republic…,” pause right there.  My guess is most of us, having said the pledge for so long, easily miss the significance.

Change the words; change the thought.  This is a time tested tactic of the Left, and we have accepted their words and their re-definition of those words all too easily.  There is even a fancy term for it—deconstructionism. I think it is time that, along with rejecting Progressive ideas, we reject the Progressive dialog.

While a treatise on why the Founders were wary of democracy is not possible in the space allotted, John Adams wrote extensively on the subject, especially in his letter to John Taylor.   While Adams explains that power rightfully derives from the people, in the construction of the government it was in checks and balances where an “…equilibrium of those ‘different powers’ was indispensably necessary to guard and defend the rights, liberties, and happiness of the people against the deleterious, contagious, and pestilential effects of those passions of vanity, pride, ambition, envy, revenge, lust, and cruelty, which domineer more or less in every government that has no balance or an imperfect balance.”  Adams admonishes, “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”

Thus to offer the Republic its best chance for longevity, one element was to have the House elected by the people, the Senate by the States, and the President by the Electoral College.    Under the reign of the devoted Progressive, Woodrow Wilson, popular election of Senators by the people was enacted.  Add to this the National Popular Vote project, with its objective to pass a bill that “would guarantee the Presidency to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and the District of Columbia),” and, should this project succeed, the last vestige of a check and balance in the electoral system would disappear.

“One man, one vote” sounds great, but as all Progressive utopian tropes go, its encounter with reality leaves us wanting.  Though we take it for granted, changes in political power and direction rarely occur without social upheaval—as we are witnessing all across Northern Africa and the Middle East.  While a majority of the pundits and Old Media laud this vast movement of “democracy,” on a smaller scale and for completely different reasons, we can catch a glimpse of what it would be like if our political system continues on its century’s long course of fundamental transformation in Madison, Wisconsin.

This is no way to run a government.  Not if you want to have a successful and productive society like the one we have enjoyed for the better part of 200 plus years.  The details of the situation have been written about extensively, but the point I want to highlight is that if we allow the community organizers to whip their minions (i.e. public sector unions) into a frenzy every time they don’t like what the duly elected representatives do to them–abandoning their jobs, taking over government buildings, having their political allies flee their sworn duty like little children–along with counter-protests that ensue in mass, if that is “democracy in action”, we are headed for a complete breakdown.

I am not suggesting at all that we limit our First Amendment right “…peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  What I am saying is that we must recognize that the battle in Wisconsin must be won as quickly and decisively as possible, along with any new engagements that rear their ugly head, if we hope to end the community organizing agitation which ultimately aims to undermine the American way of life.

So as I close this lesson plan, a word to those teachers in Wisconsin who have abdicated their responsibility to educate our children–class dismissed.  Now get back to work.

Copyright 2011 Julie Schmidt.

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