Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Because Representative Democracy Undergoing Difficulties Just Doesn't Have the Same Ring to It...

So I call this site Democracy in Distress instead.

I bring this up because this morning I ducked over to Lance in Iraq to see if he happened to be stationed at Camp Merez outside of Mosul. All I know from his blog is that he is in Northern Iraq, so he might be there. God bless the dead and wounded, and Lance- Blog soon so we know you are okay.

So while I was checking on our brave, patriotic spin meister (sorry, Lance, I respect you as a person and as a soldier but your politics are fair game), I noticed that he suddenly had a ton of comments on his posts. Seems like the recent media coverage of his blog cranked up his traffic quite a bit. He is a bit annoyed with the tone of some of the lefty comments, however. "The Comments section may not be family friendly until I get a chance to do some cleaning," Frizzell writes.

So, seeing an opportunity to chide my team for using bad language (something I never do), I reviewed the comments on this blog looking for bad behavior... None that I could find, but maybe Lance had a chance to exercise his administrative rights and clean up the nasty.

Seriously, I do hope that we can take the high road and not resort to name calling, etc. I hope we can focus on logical, fact based arguments and leave the hysteria and irrational conspiracy theories behind...

Anyway, on to the main point of this post...

DJ writes in a comment on Lance In Iraq:

Socialist democrats ... do not know, in their "Gathering to Save Our Democracy" , probably from their disdain for our pledge of allegiance, that we do not have a democracy in the USA. It is a representative Republic. There is a difference. In a democracy, "mob rules". Our republic is constitutionally protected and equally represented by elected officials, hence the Electoral College.

A good try, DJ, but calling our political system a republic is just about as meaningless as calling it a democracy. What we actually have is a representative democracy, "in which the people elect representatives, and the reps make the laws."

The Straight Dope has a nice, readable article on this concept. A few quotes to help define fine our terms:

Republic:
In recent times, the term "republic" has been bandied about by just about every country, with a popular vote or no, on the claim that the government and the people were subject to the same law. Covers just about everybody except for hereditary monarchies, as I say, including the People's Republic of China, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the Republic of Texas, as well as the more "republican" Dominician Republic, Kyrgyz Republic, and Banana Republic.

Democracy:
True democracy can also be called "town hall" or "referendum" government. Some small towns use the town hall as their exclusive system of law-making, and most state and local governments in the U.S. use referenda in placing bond issues and similar decisions directly on the voting ballot.

Direct involvement of the people is a nice concept, but for matters of day-to-day government, a strictly democratic system is impractical. Even now that it's somewhat feasible via electronic communication to survey each and every voter on each and every matter of administering the laws, would you really want this on a national, state, or even local level? Voting is rightly looked on as a civic obligation, but if you were asked to do it every morning when you woke up, you'd probably get pretty sick of it.

I don't know... I get up and make random comments about politics almost every morning on this blog, so I might like logging on and voting every morning. But then again, when politics is not your full time job, it is hard to make informed decisions on the issues. Also, I am more interested in politics than the average American (or human, for that matter).

So yes, I know we do not live in a pure democracy, but it is the democratic elements in our system that seem to be distressed right now, so that is why I call this site Democracy in Distress.

And what ever we want to call it, these men and women are over there fighting and dying to protect it, regardless of what the Bush Administration is doing to it back at home. So I say thank you to them and I hope they are okay.

Lance In Iraq

Is the U.S. a democracy or a republic? What's the difference?

Attack on US Iraq base kills 22

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