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For omar, "Democracy" here

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by yazdzik, Jan 5, 2003.

  1. yazdzik

    yazdzik Veteran Member

    Inspired by Omar's:
    What I constantly do not absorb and I have a feeling that it's more than just not being non-American, is that America prides itself on democracy.

    Dear Omar and friends,

    Why the current system must seem to be little but paradox and anomaly has far deeper historic and intellectual roots than can be surmised from looking merely at the way government functions today.

    While a thorough reading of the US Constitution would help a great deal, even then, the statutes created to "enforce this section by appropriate legislation" are so numerous and obscure, and the body of curial precedent so extensive, that few can even attempt to make it transparent. Since I am not above being ridiculed, and, since we have become used to personal debacles here of late, I shall stick my nose into places where the stench of ingratitude, disagreement and partisanism will surely suffocate me, to wit, constitutional law and its application in the forms of federal government.

    Let us begin by looking at words more carefully. Democracy, oligarchy, theocracy, &c, all have annotative, connotative, and etymological meanings. Thus, for instance, theocracy has a simple meaning of rule by observance to deities, a feeling, much different here, due to the first amendment being taught to young children, than, for instance, in Iran, where the idea of an Islamic Republic does not sound at all ridiculous. We have come in the US, for reasons having to do with the cold war, and the generally deplorable level of education, to use the word democracy to mean the opposite of dictatorship, which of course is a vast shift in meaning from what the word means or implies. Thus, a country with free elections, whether or not those elections create a representative government, or direct vote upon statutes and applications, is colloquially referred to here as a democracy. Fighting usage is, as I have discovered, not a very fruitful field to sow.

    Therefore, I shall, with the permission of the forum regulars, explain, from a purely theoretical perspective, what the government here, independent of practical issues such as funding of candidacies, civil wars, and other such intrusions into pure form, is structurally.

    Likewise, the oversimplification is based upon ignoring, for the beginning, what courts have said things that may be unclear to mean.

    We have a tripartite government, the branches being the executive, legislative and judicial. Each branch has some positions filled by direct election, appointment, and appointment subject to checks by elected officials, and apportioned election.

    The legislative branch is composed of two houses, named, and here is where etymology becomes urgent, the House of Representatives, and the Senate. The house does what it says, the representative is supposed to vote as would the majority of his district. The Senator, being an old man is someone of sufficient social stature that he is elected to use his best informed, educated, independent, ethical judgment, so as to balance the will of the masses. A bill on its way to becoming law must pass, therefore, the muster of the majority and the scrutiny of the brightest and best.

    The president and his vice-president are elected, by the states putting up electors to vote for the president, based upon the majority vote in that state, thus, in each state, the majority vote causes its complete number of electors to vote for the president, irrespective of the division of the vote internally to the state. The reasoning, as is the same for each state having two senators, is that, otherwise, the most populous states would always elect the most important officials, and, of course, without the senate, pass the most statutes. This would mean that enfranchisement were primarily geographic.

    The Federal Court judgeships are created by, and the judges appointed by the Executive, with the advice and consent of the senate, thus, according only to merit, politics being balanced by the necessity of immense scrutiny.

    We can see, therefore, that the actual democratic part of the system is fairly limited as to representation. Only one house of congress rules by polls so to speak, the others being based upon merit. Those persons having merited such independent trust, however, are still elected by the majority of their district, state, or the country. Again, balance.

    A democracy" by no means; an ingenious form of government, suchlike as the world has never seen, without any doubt.

    If it seems a bit more convoluted than a European social democracy, it surely is, as the Constitution is a product of the time of its writers. The idea that reason should inform government and not just popular passion, nor should any individual, however worthy, rule without popular voice, is the balance that the contract between governed and government must contain. More importantly, the government here is merely a contract, and has no authority founded upon some higher principle. Its purpose is set out in the preamble, and there is no lawful supposition of any right to rule, merely that the citizens have made this covenant with each other, and with their elected officials.

    Then, adding to the enforcement of reason over the passion of the majority, there was appended a Bill of Rights, which states that, even were the majority to wish something, and the wise to sanction it, the executive to approve and find a way to enforce it, that thing may not offend certain proscriptions and circumscriptions. Simply put, the majoritys right to pass a law is limited by the Bill. There are certain things no government may do, irrespective of popular will, or even reasonableness.

    The doctrine of judicial review is that the constitution controls all acts repugnant to it, and was first elucidated by Chief Justice Marshall in the case which made our government real, Marbury vs Madison.

    The concept of a government such as this is strange even to most Europeans, and the idea that the majority cannot form a Christian government must seem absurd tot he average devout Iranian, to stick with our previous example. Indeed, there are many Americans who believe that our form of government is nowhere near sufficiently representative of the will of the majority, and who would prefer more of a direct democracy.

    How this evolved into the current system of politics is one of those topics that people spend years explicating, without coming once centimetre closer to the truth. It is, in a world of mass communication, immensely dear to become well know enough to run for office, and, the love of power holds Senators in its grip to the point where they view themselves as being subject to voting by popularity poll just to maintain chances for re-election.

    Examples are many, and clear, but were I to invoke them here, the thread would devolve into a Clinton should not have had sex and the law of God should determine what is right and Bush is dumb kind of meandering nonsense so beloved of late. One can safely say, however, that the ability for more and more people to opine, and the need for greater and greater funding to run for office, has created a need for appeasement of the majority that was never felt by the early politicians. Likewise, the need for money has created a tactical oligarchy of those who can fund those who love power.

    Still, the Republic, a monument to the compromise between reason and popular feeling, stands, in spite of being structurally diametrically opposed to both the vast majority of countries in the world, and the beliefs not only of the worlds majority, but her own. A beacon of reason in a world of clericism and nationalism should at least be an interesting sidelight in history, long after the sway of the superpower is ended. It is the greatest paradox of all that the country of America, her culture, wealth, and power, are irrelevant, in a way unimaginable to other nationalities, to her basic law, and that her basic law exists independent of her quotidian existence.

    Suffice it to say, that the battle to continue the existence of such a government is never ending, and costly beyond bearing, and, ultimately, as all governments of all previous times have collapsed, will be lost.

    I hope this clarifies what must be a labyrinthian riddle to those who do not live here.

    Martin Yazdzik
  2. mikepd

    mikepd Veteran Member

    I hereby nominate Martin Yazdzik for President in 2004. Any and all constitutional prohibitions against his running are null and void.

    Why can't the political parties field someone like this? Damn!
  3. HaYwIrE

    HaYwIrE Banned

    Because politics does bad things to people and if Martin were a politician, he wouldn't be Martin.
  4. mikepd

    mikepd Veteran Member

    Claude Pepper was truly unique then.
  5. ditch

    ditch Downunder Member

    Thank you Martin. For the information and the effort.
  6. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    I nominate this thread for PoM!!!
  7. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

  8. Ugly

    Ugly Fish is Brain Food

    I served in the first Congress Game with Yaz as a justice of the SCOTUS.
    If I may offer another nomination, the best place for such talent is as Justice instead of prez, IMHO.

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