The United States is a constitutional republic. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It is brilliantly written to constrain the power of the federal government from infringing on the inalienable and natural rights of the individual. The Constitution and more specifically the Bill of Rights was not written to grant these rights, but to prohibit the government from curtailing them.
From the provision of a democratically elected House of Representatives based on population and the Senate based on equal representation; to the electoral college that helps protect smaller states and rural areas from large population areas and cities during presidential elections; to the careful distribution of powers and authorities across the three branches of government; and even by the strict process required to amend it, the Constitution was clearly written for a republic.
The founders were extremely skeptical of the excesses that a democracy brings. They had read and understood the pitfalls and chaos of pure democracy going all the way back to Athens, Greece. There are numerous examples throughout their writings and records of the Constitutional convention that confirm their skepticism and in fact the way the Constitution is written supports the contention that they did not want us to ever become a democracy. They knew that throughout history, democracies, whether direct or representative, could not protect individuals and any group that comprises a minority against the unlimited power and whims of the majority. This is often referred to as the tyranny of the majority.
We are constantly told that this thing or that action is a “threat to our democracy.” The real threat is to our rights caused by ignorance of the Constitution.
Unfortunately, the prevailing thought is that the Supreme Court is the only arbiter of the Constitution. That couldn’t be further from the founders’ intent. If every politician in every branch of government understood the limits the Constitution places on their actions and voted or acted accordingly, our constitutional republic would be secure, as would our rights as citizens of the greatest experiment in self-government the world has ever known.
Marc Christensen, Vaughn
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