“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.” – Benjamin Franklin
The left is always harping about how Trump, conservative Republicans, Elon Musk’s Twitter or so-called “hate speech” are a threat to our democracy. In the first place, our form of government is threatened, but the danger is from the progressives, the woke and most of the Democrat Party. In the second place, our government is not a “democracy”. It is a Constitutional Republic.
Nowhere in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution is the word, “democracy”. That is because many of our Founding Fathers had studied governments throughout history. They were opposed to tyranny in any form. One of the forms of oppression that frightened them the most was tyranny by the majority. They had noted that the idea of majority rule had been used to suppress and oppress minority groups and individuals throughout world history. That is why they included a Bill of Rights as the first ten Amendments to our Constitution. They acknowledged that our rights to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” are God given, and therefore, “unalienable”.
The Framers of the Constitution were aware of the pitfalls of democracy. They wanted to protect the rights of the minorities as well as those of the majority. That is why they placed so many checks and balances in the Constitution. Our younger Americans appear to be ignorant of how our founding document distributes power. Many are aware of the checks between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of our federal government, but how many are aware of the checks and balances between the federal, state and local governments?
How many citizens are aware that the much maligned Electoral College protects the rights of citizens in less populated states? Without the protection of the Electoral College, only the most populous states would decide presidential elections. Candidates would only campaign in those states. As a result, the wants and needs of the people in the less populated states would be ignored by all of the candidates. A newly elected president would have no political reason to care about the people in less populated states.
A democracy protects the majority, but does nothing to protect the rights of the minority. That is why our Founders created a Constitutional Republic that protects both the minority and the majority. That is why there is no mention of democracy in our founding documents.
Throughout our history, minority rights have been openly violated. A look at the timeline of our history, however, shows that we have continually, and unequivocally, moved toward correcting these errors. It has always been our attempt toward “a more perfect union”. Whether it was fighting the Civil War to end slavery, enacting suffrage laws to give women the vote, or enacting Civil Rights laws to protect minorities, we seek to balance power and protect the rights of both majority and minority.
With that in mind, we need to educate our fellow Americans on the difference between “democracy” and liberty. Since we are a Constitutional Republic, and not a democracy, we need to be much more concerned with the loss of liberty found in the Bill of Rights, rather than loss of a democracy that we do not and never have had.