Friday, August 06, 2010

The U.S. Republic Is Dead, Long Live The U.S. Democracy?

What is wrong with us, America? Why are people not in the streets? Your Republic is over ~ Glenn Beck (b. 2/10/1964) The Tea Party Prophet ranting on the 7/22/2010 edition of his television program.

To answer Glenn Beck's question, it must be because we are a republic when there is a Republican in the White House and a democracy when the president is a Democrat - and in the last election, the people voted for democracy. The reason Republicans like to insist the United States is a republic and not a democracy because "republic" sounds like "Republican" and implies that their party best represents the vision of our Founders.

Prior to 1787 the words "democracy" and "republic" were interchangeable. Before the ratification of the Constitution, the form of government our Founders sought to institute was referred to as a representative democracy (and still is by the rest of the world). James Madison created the artificial distinction in Federalist No. 10.

Ironically, Federalist No. 10 argued that the United States government should not be partisan! Ironic because our government has never been more partisan than it is today. The Founding Fathers would be horrified by the modern day Republican Party's attempt to deliberately sabotage our economy.

The Democratic Senator from Michigan, Debbie Stabenow recently observed, "it is very clear that the Republicans in the Senate want this economy to fail. They see that things are beginning to turn around. In cynical political terms, it doesn't serve them in terms of their election interests if things are beginning to turn around".

Keep this in mind the next time you hear a Right-winger rabidly proclaim that we're a republic and NOT a democracy. Although it isn't quite as nonsensical as their other assertions regarding the Founding Fathers (that they were, for the most part, Conservative Christians who used the Bible as their guide when writing the Constitution), their simplistic view is a misrepresentation of historical fact. If you encounter a Right-winger who wants to play that game simply point out to them that it was the Democratic party that first paid tribute to our "republican" form of government and can trace it's beginnings back to Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republican Party.

On second thought, it's probably far to complicated for your average tea-party type to comprehend. The Democratic-Republican Party is referred to as such by historians to differentiate Jefferson's Party from the modern Republican Party. However, while the Party officially was the "Democratic-Republican Party", and members referred to themselves as Republicans, the Democratic-Republican Party was actually the forerunner to today's modern Democratic Party (they represented yeoman farmers and the working class).

The Republican Party is the modern day incarnation of the Federalist Party, which was formed to represent the interests of urban bankers and businessmen. The Federalists, who distrusted the public and believed that government should be run by the elites, were "too wedded to an upper-class style to win the support of ordinary voters". This explains their eventual demise.

The political Party representing the elite and the wealthy today is undoubtedly Republican. Yet average Americans continue to vote for their candidates. Unbelievably Republicans are expected to gain seats in the November election, possibly retaking the House. When will the average voter wise up and vote for the Party which most represents the people? How much longer do we have to wait, and how much more damage can our representative democracy endure before the voters set this Party clearly on the path to it's eventual demise?

On a positive note, after the November elections it will be possible for the Senate to change the filibuster rule. At the beginning of every new Senate the rules for that session are voted on by it's members. Only a simple majority is needed to reform the abused filibuster. "The Constitution's framers never meant to design a system that would enable the GOP's modern level of obstruction". I think that, after the election and provided the Democrats hold the House, we may actually get a Congress that is more effective than the current one.

If the Democrats don't hold the House, then it may only be a matter of time before the people take to the streets, because our representative democracy will be over. The will of the people will be supplanted by the will of the wealthy elites. Congress will grind to a virtual halt. Instead of bills designed to stimulate the economy and get people back to work, the House will concentrate on cutting taxes for the upper class and investigating President Obama.

In my opinion this upcoming election will determine the fate of our country for many years to come. Will we chose to help the Democrats pull our nation out of recession, or elect Republicans and slide into a full blown depression?

Buzzflash guest commentator Stephen Crockett asks, "Is the Republican Victory Plan Another Great Depression?"... Tax cuts at the highest marginal incomes brackets do concentrate wealth and political power in the hands of the economic elite. ... This reduces the ability of most Americans to buy goods and services. As a result, the economy unwinds because customers do not have enough disposable income to keep the flow of goods and services at a healthy economic level. (7/31/2010).

Further Reading
[1] House GOP "Jobs Plan" Would Give Billions In Budget Busting Tax Breaks To Huge Corporations by Ethan Berman, The Wonk Room 8/3/2010.
[2] Momentum For Senate Filibuster Reform Builds by Ryan Grim & Sam Stein, The Huffington Post 7/26/2010.

SWTD #48


  1. you speak the truth w! I believe the right votes republican solely based on religion because these are middle class rightwingers out of work and suffering just like the rest of the country. God tells them to vote for the "party of God", the preachers across this nation tell their congregations to vote for the "Godly candidate". Sadly it comes down to our nation destroyed by religious fanatics, wolves in sheeps clothing...

  2. I agree about the ramifications of the upcoming election. Hopefully the Democrats will come out the winners so the country can win.

  3. I don't know how I missed your blog before. Have seen you at Truth101 & a couple of other spots. I like your blog and I'm thrilled to find another liberal Tennesseean - I'm in Nashville. We are such a rare bird these days. Am putting you on my blogroll if that's okay with you.

  4. Before we get too excited about changing the filibuster rule remember that there were Democrats that joined with republicans when the repubs wanted to do the "nuclear option." Chris Dodd just warned freshman Democrats not to do away with the filibuster. I used to like Dodd when I heard him talk like a Democrat. Then I saw how he actually votedand now this. I'm glad he's going.

  5. Truth, you may have noticed that I placed a question mark at the end of my post's title? I'm not at all certain that the Democrats will be willing to amend the filibuster. But I am hopeful that they'll realize the Republicans have given them no choice.

    Reasons to keep the filibuster are: the Democrats may need it the next time they are in the minority, and... it increases the personal power of individual Senators.

    The first is a legitimate reason, the second is not... although I'm sure that won't stop Senators (including Democrats) from voting against reforming the filibuster for that very reason.

    However, like I said, I don't believe the Democrats have a choice. The U.S. may be seriously screwed if the filibuster rule is not changed. The Democrats will not be able to pass a damn thing for the rest of Obama's first term.

    More reason for people to vote in more Republicans in 2012 -- or so the Republicans will tell them. Why re-elect a "do nothing" Congress that sat on their hands while the economy slipped further into depression?

    Which may result in Obama not receiving a second term.

    tnlib, I was born in WI, so that probably explains it (I've lived in TN for approximately 6 years).

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. To the author of the delted post... should he/she visit this blog again. Blogger emailed me your comment, so it was read.

    First of all, thank you for visiting my blog. Secondly, WHY take the time to leave a comment only to immediately delete it?

    Whatever the reason, I have changed my comment policy as a result of your actions.

    My new policy is that if you leave a comment you can NOT delete it (and not have me repost it) unless you replace it with another comment.

    If your new post simply says "sorry I changed my mind about leaving a comment" that is fine. Unless you are a repeat offender, then "sorry I changed my mind" won't cut, and I will repost your comment anyway.

    You must use the same ID. Meaning, if you posted your original comment using your blogger ID, then you can not delete that post and leave another one using the "anonymous" ID.

    Hopefully this clears up the issue. If not, please email me any questions before posting.

  8. That explains the no ax-cee-ent.

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