What are the core characteristics of a democratic government?
Contrary to what 47% of citizens may believe, a democratic government is not defined as one that is run by Democrats. Theoretically at least, smart Republicans can also thrive in a democracy such as ours, as it is also a republic. To save America from progressive Democrats that want America to become a socialist nation, smart Republican leaders must become brave enough to step up to the plate and defend our founding principles. Here are a number of core precepts for democracy:
"Democracy is government in which power and civic responsibility are exercised by all adult citizens, directly, or through their freely elected representatives.
"Democracy rests upon the principles of majority rule and individual rights. Democracies guard against all-powerful central governments... and decentralized governments down to regional and local governments becoming too powerful. The people are in charge. All levels of government must be as accessible and responsive to the people as is humanly possible.
"Democracies understand that one of their prime functions is to protect such basic human rights as freedom of speech and religion; the right to equal protection under law; and the opportunity to organize and participate fully in the political, economic, and cultural life of society.
"Democracies conduct regular free and fair elections open to citizens of voting age.
"Citizens in a democracy have not only rights, but also the responsibility to participate in the political system that, in turn, protects their rights and freedoms.
"Democratic societies are committed to the values of tolerance, cooperation, and compromise. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, 'Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.' "
These characteristics of a democracy, as quoted above are shown without original reference on the Internet at many sites. In the spirit of fair use, they have been presented in this essay to all.
They say that history repeats itself. However, nobody ever notices the repeat performances unless they are either paying close attention; they are very well read; or they are several hundred years old. Repeat performances of great events are most appreciated. Yet performances, which are not stellar or which end poorly are rarely asked to be repeated.
Will the American experiment, the formation of this great country of ours, ever be repeated? Has it already gone bad? Would you chance another form of government to become effective in America in your lifetime? Will our United States of America, formed by the blood and guts of patriots, prove to have been successful when America is long gone?
Most of US who are paying attention find our magnificently crafted nation now in its crumbling stage with little hope of rescue, rather than in a formative or growth stage. We collectively feel that the best that Americans can hope for is to be the big exception to the 200 year rule. With the Crumbler in Chief, the least appreciative American who ever walked this planet, in the driver's seat, the big exception is unlikely to happen any time soon if ever. America therefore is on its way to doom.
It will not help US at all, but the second best hope for democracy is that some nation on some planet someplace, at some time, long after the lights go out in America, might be formed with the same care and craftsmanship, with which our forefathers once built our nation. But, even this new nation off in the distance, according to the rules and the expert testimony, will have a tough time surviving more than 200 years if beings such as our human race populate this new nation under God. We have not done so well with our first opportunity with a democracy or a republic.
Despite the finest written facets of government, hand crafted with love and determination to get it right, including our great Constitution, we as a nation with the greatest of all freedoms and liberties have not been able to discipline ourselves to live within our own precepts. Anything goes is anathema to a disciplined society and a disciplined society is necessary for a democracy, and especially for a republic. Which of the founders would have conceived of a people willing to give up its freedom and liberty for a handout or for a small amount of power over their fellow man?
I end all of my emails with two similar quotes from the writings of Alexis de Toqueville, a French Aristocrat, who came to America in the 1830's and who immediately saw its greatness and its weakness. He questioned the sustainability of our government. He wrote a huge book about America titled Democracy in America, and he had it published in two volumes between 1835 and 1840. Our country was about 50 years old at the time and de Toqueville had great insights about the behavior of its people—even very good people. He offered these thoughts as I witness every day in my email signature:
# 1 The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the publics' money.
#2 A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.
Does "born in 1776," take on a bit more meaning as we look at our country in our waning years? In 2013, technically, the US is 237 years old. This means we have outlived de Toqueville's average by 37 years—so far! Can the US survive?
If there were no time / place reference given, one could rightfully conclude that the time period for the quote were the beginning of the 21st century in America. More specifically, as an example, one might present the election of November 6, 2012 as a concrete example of de Toqueville's predicted phenomenon in practice. Of course, 47% of the people might not understand.
As our own chances for recovery are diminishing with time, more than likely, without major advances in medicine, none of us will ever see the galaxy's next government experiment. To help us in our own plight, to either stretch out our demise or save us from our apparent destiny, I continually implore my fellow Americans to pay attention. I assert that nobody of sound mind who is paying attention could conclude that all is well with America.
Though there are a few fruitcakes knowingly peddling the garbage of the left, I have concluded that it is those not well schooled in the art of freedom and liberty, who also choose not to pay attention, who impede our United States from progressing positively. Ironically, the bulk of the people impeding economic progress are progressive democrats.
As a big fan of de Tocqueville, I was reminded today by a good friend about another de Touqueville precept that I had put in the recesses of my mind. This quote is compelling: "It is indeed difficult to imagine how men who have entirely renounced the habit of managing their own affairs could be successful in choosing those who ought to lead them. It is impossible to believe that a liberal, energetic, and wise government can ever emerge from the ballots of a nation of servants." To help us back on track on this quote, a nation of servants is the natural result of a redistributive government.
Of the people, for the people, and by the people, implies that the people must be involved in the process and not take on the role of bystanders. Aloofness to reality will only bring US tragedy. We have a real role in our own democracy and as quickly as many of US have abrogated it as a people, caretakers who do not care about US are taking over our government.
Despite the warnings, still far too many Americans choose not to pay attention to the machinations of our government that help assure its success or can bring about its failure. This is not OK. Some citizens have either never engaged or they have withdrawn from tuning into the full system of checks and balances constructed to keep the size of government and its power at a minimum.
We the people are at fault for the pain our leaders are inflicting on US. By not paying attention, and not knowing the basics of our country, many of US do not know how good our country is supposed to be, and once was. With all the tools the founders gave Americans to keep government in check, we should be very disappointed in ourselves.
As a rule, many people seek favors from politicians rather than insisting on honesty and accountability. Therefore we get the poor government we deserve. The corollary of course is also true. The scoundrels in office do not receive their chastisement from we the people because we are too busy looking after ourselves. Who else if not US should take action against those who represent US poorly?
From their own experience with tyranny, our founders could not conceive of a people willing to give up any part of its freedom—even if they were lazy. The founders did their best to prevent government from owning the people. Most citizens unfortunately, do not pay attention to the basic precepts that are designed to keep US a free country.
I regret to say that we have not lived up to the dream of our founders and despite not doing our part, many Americans on the take, still have the chutzpah to think that the American Dream should still be a sure thing for their sorry selves and their offspring. Not so! Only excellent leadership could have assured that, and for the most part, we have not had such leadership in years, and the people remain unaware for as a rule, we do not pay enough attention to assure our own success.
We get the government we deserve—good or bad! We have not paid enough attention to the details perpetrated by the scoundrels that we appoint as our representatives. We pay no attention at our own peril. Peril is heading our way as too many are happy with this self-serving government now over-lording America. Many intellectuals believe we have seen our finest hour, and it is not ever coming back.
Our founders formed the US government as a republic. They had experienced the worst, and wanted the best for the new frontier. Their collective outrage was often expressed by colonists who were taxed to the bone without any representation. Now, uninformed Americans cheer the government when they raise our taxes. Yet, all have less to spend.
Americans, originating from countries all over the world, have always been the toughest of all peoples because such mettle was necessary just to survive in our early wilderness. Many of our ancestors were so courageous, tough, and strong-willed that they boarded ships to the new world to escape tyranny and death in their home countries.
When they arrived and needed to survive, they remembered the factors which compelled them to make the difficult journey. They were thrilled to be alive when they got here but they were not pleased at all that so many aspects of their former intolerable lives existed under the colonial government. So, they took action to make life more tolerable
Long after this episode in American history, but in similar circumstances, after the big World Wars; and after the expiration of most of the greatest generation; many US citizens–instead of staying tough like the colonists and their parents and grandparents; began to get soft. In many ways they have begun to behave as namby-pambies, hoping a gift from the government will help them get by until tomorrow. But, thinkers know that the price of a gift from the government is a price free men cannot afford to pay.
When the colonists arrived, they yearned for the rightful freedom and liberty for which they had set forth. This desire for freedom and liberty prompted them to make their journey and after an arduous travail, they arrived in the new world with huge expectations. They were tough Americans, annoyed that anybody would have the nerve to impose a tribute on them, after they had sailed away from mother countries willing to take all they had worked for in their lives.
Early Americans believed that freedom meant freedom from government and they worked with the founders to create a government with men of good will as the core of the citizenry from which great leaders could emerge. Such a government could have lasted last through the ages. Whether it will is up to US!