Voting In A Democratic Republic

There is a misassumption at the center of a lot of people’s civic education. They believe we live in a democracy. We do not. We live in a republic. The distinction is significant and many want to see it laid aside, because a democracy is easier to manipulate, especially when considering those who are currently at the lower ends of the economic strata, who tend to be more concerned with immediate things, the kinds of things politicians can manipulate with promises of entitlements.

Our founding fathers did not trust the mass of people to make decisions, only to elect people who would then make the decisions. They also believed that cities and large population centers should not automatically control the entire decision making process, hence the inclusion of a Senate to go with the apportioned House of Representatives. In addition, presidential elections, the only nation-wide election, would not be decided by mere force of numbers, something that would give cities and large population centers too much power, but by the current Electoral College system, which gives smaller areas a real voice in the outcome. This is singularly evident in the current presidential race. As a result, all voting is primarily local, with even the presidential vote in any given state given a local context, to somewhat balance its national focus. Just look at the speeches in Ohio and Florida over the last two weeks. Local concerns were given prominent place with national issues.

When you vote today, remember that you are voting for the people who will make decisions, not for the decisions themselves. While candidates may promise almost anything, it is who they are that you are really voting for, since only the most venial will be driven solely by the polls. Since that is the case, the character of the person you vote for is significant, since people usually act true to their character.

Just a few thoughts from the rim before you go to the polls today.

Update: As an answer to a question, it is easy for almost anyone to see that we are republic from the Pledge of Allegiance.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands…