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Democracy

Posted by Rick · July 7th, 2005 · No Comments

A comment posted this morning to an older article I wrote — Confronting the Judicial War on Faith — provides the impetus for today’s post on the Constitution of the United States.


Rob Smith appears to have taken issue with the idea that Newswriter wants to see congressional representatives who aren’t afraid to represent. He opines — a word these days that, thanks to O’Reilly, goes well with “bloviating” — that the call for representatives who aren’t focused on just one voting bloc is a BadThing™. Mr. Smith appears to be unhappy that me and Newswriter believe someone other than christian fundamentalists should be represented by our representatives.

Interestingly, these comments appear at the bottom of a post that discussed the ways in which the Courts of the United States have — rightly — ruled in favor of fundamentalist religious groups. One particular instance I wrote about in that article involved a fundamentalist christian group which sued to stop a school district from teaching students the views of more inclusive religious groups. The Federal Court in that case supported the fundamentalists; not the so-called horror of “liberalism.”

And it was the right decision.

As I pointed out then, it is not the Court’s job to stop fundamentalist christians from trying to run roughshod over the rest of us by controlling our government. It’s only the Court’s job to protect the Constitution. When theocrats actively trample the Constitution in specific ways actionable under that very Constitution, then, and only then, may the Courts act. And so I suggested that the proper approach was for each of you to contact your representative? to tell them how you feel about the christian take-over of our government and how you want to be represented.

As noted above, Newswriter then posted a comment to that post. In her comment, she suggested that the problem was representatives who kowtow to the will of christian extremists — a group which appears to be growing in strength grossly disproportional to its numbers.

Mr. Smith appears to take issue with these ideas.

So what we really need is [sic] Congressmen and Senators that aren’t accoutable [sic] to constituencies. Ones who will stand up and tell their constituencies that they are bigots and idiots and idiots oh and of course, you better re-elect me if you know what’s good for you. — Rob Smith (July 7, 2005) Comment on “Confronting the Judicial War on Faith”

In fact, both me and Newswriter were pointing out that the problem right now is that congressional representatives aren’t accountable to their constituencies, unless “constituencies” means “only those people who have enough voting power to get a representative elected.” Neither did I nor Newswriter suggest that our congressional representatives should tell any voter that they are “bigots and idiots and idiots….” That’s our job; not Congress’.

Part of the problem is this sort of “dialogue” in which Mr. Smith engages us — only it’s more of a monologue, because folk like Mr. Smith don’t want to hear what anyone who doesn’t conform to their belief system has to say. Somehow, a call for inclusiveness is seen by them as exclusive. Suggesting that the rights of everyone be protected is seen as trampling on their rights.

But not everyone in the United States is of the same mind. As already noted, right now, we have congressional representatives who listen to the person with the most money, or the one or two “voting blocs” that they think will help them stay in office. Christian fundamentalists appear to think that’s a GoodThing™ and that it demonstrates a Congress responsive to the will of the People.

Problem is, it’s only the will of some people: the mob with the loudest voices and the hottest torches.

There’s a reason the United States of America was not constituted as a democracy. In a pure democracy, the rights of the few are trampled by the many.

Ironically, if voting studies and polls are accurate at all, right now in America what appears to be “the many” actually is made up of “the few.” It’s just that “the many” can’t get off their lazy asses long enough to vote, or to tell their congressional representatives what they think. Sometimes, that’s just as well, since they also can’t get the other lazy ends of their bodies to think or learn anything such that they could be educated on issues and about the people they’d be voting for as representatives to enact their will — or some reasonable and beneficial compromise — regarding those issues. At any rate, the result is that the few, masquerading as the many, are increasingly derogating the rights of the rest of us.

Read the Constitution

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy reports:

Last Monday, the Washington-based ACS made the text of the Constitution available for downloading to iPods; according to David Lyle, the group’s deputy director, there have been 1,000 downloads per day since then.

Why iPods? Lyle credits Tom Moore, a Georgetown law student and ACS member, with the idea. “I’ve always been charmed by folks on Capitol Hill . . . who carry a small bound copy of the Constitution wherever they go for instant reference,” explains Moore in an e-mail. “[I wanted] a sleek new way to carry the Constitution around in my pocket.” Asked why the ACS acted on Moore’s suggestion, Lyle said, “It is important that people actually read the Constitution, in whatever format works for them. If they do . . . they will reject the currently dominant, narrow, conservative vision of the law.”

The distaste that modern Americans have for constitutional principles is nothing short of stunning. Perhaps it’s several decades of “McDonald’s Education.” Not only are too many high school graduates literally unable to read the Constitution, but they’ve been inculcated (not educated) to believe whatever corporations and those who own or financially benefit from them tell them to think.

More and more, that thinking is that “democracy” is a good thing. But, again, there’s a reason our Founders deliberately “crippled” any pure democratic form of government.

Sheep — and human crowds aren’t any smarter, or more independent, however much they like to think they are — are easily lead. When was the last time you heard a sheep stand up and say, “Hey! What’s up here?! I’m being lead about by someone else! I don’t want that!”

Corporations — and now the government as run by the Bush Administration — spend billions of dollars every year on advertising.

Ever wonder why?

Obviously, it works. And the greatest achievement of modern times has been to convince people that what the Constitution stands for is a BadThing™ — while simultaneously convincing them that they are actually defending that Constitution and the principles it intended to enshrine.

My biggest fear is that the battle being waged over the Constitution is virtually already lost. Liberalism — and make no mistake, the Constitution itself was a radically liberal document — is in its last throes.

And, no. I don’t mean that Conservatives get to throw one helluva party in just 12 more years.

Categories: Constitutional Issues

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