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America must Decide: A Democracy or a Republic?

Following the third presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, it was hard to miss the caterwauling from the Left about how Trump’s wise refusal to commit to accepting the election results before he’d even seen them was some sort of threat to democracy.

Obviously, disputing election results is as American as apple pie, but the Left is currently indulging in yet another ahistorical fantasy in which Republicans following the law is an outrage and Democrats ignoring the law is perfectly OK.

Long story short, all the ballyhoo sent me into the archives to see what the Founding Fathers actually thought about democracy. People who paid attention in history class probably recall that our country was not founded as a democracy, but as a republic. The difference is tremendous in practice, but the myth of us being a democracy is firmly implanted in the American consciousness, thanks to the mass media and politicians who have a vested interest in twisting the English language to their own purposes.

Along the way, I noticed something interesting. The Smithsonian, which you’d think should be trustworthy, has an article called “The Real Birth of American Democracy,” in which it asserts that “American democracy” really began when Washington peacefully passed power to his successor, and it cites Washington’s farewell address. Doing a search, there is no mention of democracy in Washington’s address, but “republican liberty” and “republican government” are both mentioned. It was an instructive little tidbit of information that even the Smithsonian, the great keeper of knowledge, can’t correctly name the type of government we are supposed to have.

The confusion of most people over the difference between republicanism and democracy stems not only from word games, but from the notion that at the most basic level, both forms of government give voice to the people. That’s where the actual similarity ends, though.

A republican government gets its authority from the people and functions according to laws established by the people, a la our own Constitution. A democracy, on the other hand, is simply majority rule. Historically, democracies go whichever way the wind blows, and there is seldom any respect for the rights of anyone not in the current majority. It’s two wolves and a lamb deciding what’s for dinner, as the adage goes.

The Left, which includes many members of the Republican Party, is convinced that we really are a democracy, which goes a long way toward explaining why they see the Constitution as a “living” (i.e., changing according to social fads) document, rather than as the basis of law that was written down to provide consistency in protecting the rights of all citizens. It also explains Democrats’ dangerous love affair with mobs and violent protest as a means of securing new “rights” (really just privileges), usually at the expense of someone without a lobby group or media attention.

Historically, democracies always end badly. Of course, democracy is what a lot of people seem to prefer these days. By creating a milieu where chaos thrives, leftist groups hope to gain whatever it is they currently think they want. It’s all about gathering and asserting power — reaping the whirlwind, if you will. If you don’t get that, just go on YouTube and watch videos of looters at any of the larger riots — Ferguson, for example.

I’ve been trying to find a quote from any Founding Father supportive of democracy or saying that our own government was formed as a democracy, as the Left insists. Haven’t found one yet. Here’s a sampling of what our Founders really thought about democracy:

  • “Democracy is the most vile form of government. … Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property: and have in general been as short in their lives as the have been violent in their deaths.”
    — James Madison, father of the Constitution, fourth president of the U.S.
  • “We are a Republic. Real Liberty is never found in despotism or in the extremes of Democracy.”
    — Alexander Hamilton, lawyer, secretary of the treasury and secretary of state.
  • “A simple democracy is the devil’s own government.”
    — Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence.
  • “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history.”
    — John Adams, signer of the Declaration, second president.
  • “The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be, liberty.”
    — Fisher Ames, framer of the First Amendment to the Constitution.

The United States Constitution, Article 4, Section 4, spells it out: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”

Trump, like him or not, is the candidate running on the platform of law and order. Clinton is running on the promise of bread and circuses.

It’s no great wonder Clinton gets away with violating the law, and her lackeys justify every illegal, corrupt thing she and her campaign have done by pretending it wasn’t illegal. If you like democracy — real, power-mad, chaos-driven, self-centered, law-avoiding democracy that promises favors and tramples rights — then Hillary’s your candidate.

If you want a country that is based on enforcement of the law and equal treatment of all citizens and legal residents, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, creed or claim to “safe space,” then you have to vote Trump.

The primary issue in this campaign is democracy vs. republic, criminal corruption vs. the law. It’s really just that simple.

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Tad Cronn

Tad Cronn began his journalism career in 1983. While he earned awards for his work as a reporter and editor, his greatest joy is writing news commentary. Providing a conservative and often humorous outlook on current events, he now works as a freelance writer based in California.

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