The Lesser of Two Evils
“There are men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle.”(Alexis de Tocqueville) This quote is from his book “Democracy in America” written in 1835. It is as current today as it was in the 1800’s. In 2016, our two party democratic system produced two unprincipled candidates.
My response to de Tocqueville’s observation is that we need to empower responsible people to find those “men(women) of principle”. Our founding fathers actually set up a process in the Constitution that accomplished that, it is called the Electoral College. Unfortunately, we have strayed so far from the original intent of the Constitution those “men of principles” are not being identified as our national leaders.
The constitution set up a government that was a representative republic not a democracy. The founding fathers were not fans of the democratic process. They understood that majority rule could be volatile, fickle and dangerous. To defend liberty, they limited the democratic process in favor of a representative republican process. The citizens would entrust elected official to make decisions for them.
Thomas Jefferson declared: “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” Even the top Federal of the day Alexander Hamilton asserted that “We are now forming a Republican form of government. Real liberty is not found in the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments. If we incline too much to democracy we shall soon shoot into a monarchy, or some other form of a dictatorship.”
The sirens of democracy are seductive. Their songs have lured many a nation onto the rocks of destruction with empty promises. The thought that “we the people” could rule by popular vote is attractive and empowering. However, the majority will choose security over freedom, self interest over the principle and nationalism over sovereignty. Consider this, who wins in a popular vote when two wolves and one chicken vote to chose “what is for dinner?”
Fisher Ames (1758-1808) a Founding Father and framer of the First Amendment warned that “the known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty.” The liberties that the founding father valued so dearly were to be protected by the republican form of government they outlined in the Constitution.
After the Constitutional Convention was concluded, in 1787, a bystander inquired of Ben Franklin: “Well, Doctor, what have we got a Republic or a Monarchy?” Franklin replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” What did Franklin mean by this statement? Have we reached the destiny that he feared? Franklin’s warning makes it perfectly clear that our fore fathers knew that it would be hard work to maintain liberty.
The Constitution’s version of a republic was to empower the “people of the … States”. Democracy turns the power of governing over to an individual, the President, to rule over individuals and states. This I believe is the mind set of many. We elect a President to change the country for better or not.
Our leaders promote democracy as something great and wonderful that should be spread across the world. Public education endorses this concept and it is emphasized in our core curriculum. In reality this misconception keeps us ignorant of the fact that a more democratic process brings us closer to tyranny. Ill informed protesters beg for a democratic popular vote to elect a shepherd to protect the flock against the evils of terrorism, racism, sexism, and all the other “…isms” out there.
I find it disheartening that most protesters are calling for a further destruction of our republican process in favor of more “democracy”. To eliminate the Electoral College and replace it with a popular vote iniative would be a huge mistake. It would be a one giant step closer to a democratically elected Monarch.
It is encouraging that the protesters are calling for a “refusal” to comply and serve a President. But I am concerned that their motives are out of fear. The fear, that is being generated by the media and by the losing party. The fear of a new president is over blown.
The anger of those protesting is misdirected. The calm for the anger is not the other candidate, especially a candidate that in her political career has never opposed a war. The solution is not to change the Electoral College process to a majority rule. The solution is to educate ourselves on the workings of government according to the Constitution.
The role of the President defined by the Constitution resembles an ambassador as much as it does a powerful national leader. There are only a few responsibilities that the President holds omnipotent control over. In the oath he accepts the responsility to: “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution”. This makes him the chief executor to enforce the laws of the United States and the power to commission all the Officers of the United States to ensure this.
Presidential powers includes being the “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and the State Militias, “when called into the actual Service of the United States.” This means only in time of war.
He is granted the power, on extraordinary occasions, to convene and to adjourn both Houses in Congress and the power to temporary fill vacancies when the of the Senate is in recess. He is also to be our nations number one “host” to receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers.
The Constitution describes the duties of the President that are to be approved and vested by Congress. These shared powers include the ability to make Treaties provided two thirds of the Senators present concur. To “appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment.
However, the powers of the President have grown with every administration. The number of Executive Orders, issued by the past two presidents, is outrageous. The fact that they go unchallenged is proof that we have become numb to the usurpation of power by the Executive Branch. The increasing number of rules, regulations, restrictions, quotas, fees, fines and licenses passed by the Executive Branch’s regulatory agencies are painful and further strip us of both personal and economic freedom.
How would a popular elected President change this? It wouldn’t. The opposite would occur. A popular elected President would increase the powers of the Executive Branch. It would eliminate another safeguard to the distribution of power. The balance of power is delicate, we can not continually grant more power to the President and the Executive Branch.
The energy of those protesting should be directed to the political process that they have the most control, local politics. Think locally, the local level includes the electing of city, town, county, state legislators and Congressmen that emphasis liberty and put principle over party politics.
Solution – The Changes Required
Change #1 – The House of Representative, is the catalyst for change. A good start would be to make the representation ratio in the House of Representatives meaningful. The Constitution called for one congressman to represent not more than 30,000 people. From 1789 until 1833, the House of Representatives grew from having 65 members to having 240. The result was that over that entire period, the average congressman never represented more than 60,000 people. In 1913, the House of Representatives was fixed by law (but not the Constitution) at 435 members. The result is that: today there are more than 730,000 U.S. residents per member of Congress. 730,000 to 1 is not a meaningful representation. It must be changed.
Change #2 – The US Senator would be next. In the Constitution the Senators were selected by the States’ legislators. This process ensured that our states would have a say in foreign affairs. On April 8, 1913, the 17th Amendment, was ratified. The 17th Amendment made the two US Senators from each state elected by popular vote.
The result of the 17th Amendment allowed eliminated most, if not all, of the States’ influence in Washington. The more “democratic process” moved the balance of power away from the states and toward Washington DC. President Wilson was the first to explore Washington’s newly granted powers, the Federal Reserve Act, World War 1, Revenue Act (Federal income tax) and the list goes on.
In order to regain influence in Washington the 17th Amendment must be repealed. I believe this change would open up more discourse into our role an Imperialist nation. It would help to harness the “security and intelligence” agencies that have metastasized and put a halt to our interventionist foreign policy
Change # 3 – The Electoral College is the saving grace of the Constitution. It is the last safeguard to prevent us from becoming a Nation State ruled by an elected Monarch. The Electoral College is state based. The members are selected by the States’ legislators and it is those members that “theoretically” select the President.
This would act to preserve the states sovereignty and be another barrier to protect the balance of power between the three branches. This process described in the Constitution is not being followed. It has to return to the function that our founders envisioned. The electoral members should not be appointed by political parties. The selection of its members must be based upon principle. They need to be independent, non partisan citizens, committed to liberty and state issues.
Getting our government under control begins locally. Let us re-empowering the citizens and the states. Congress needs to become more responsive to a lesser number of constituents. The repealing of the 17th Amendment will re-empower the states in domestic, national and international policies. This would disrupt the power of Washington’s perpetual bureaucrats, neocons and cronies embedded in the “deep state”.
A return the Electoral College described in the Constitution is vital to preserve our Constitution Republic. Allow an independent group of respected citizens, appointed by the state representatives, beholden to their constituents, to select the President. This process would eliminate many of the pollutants that make the Presidential waters undrinkable; the two party systems, the presidential primaries, self promoting narcissists, national party conventions, the buying and selling of candidates, media pandering, empty promises and lies.
Well respected, independent, Electoral Members, from all 50 states, must be trusted to select our leader. I believe that when we return to this process, principled men and women will emerge. Our current system has failed to produce good choices. How long we will continue to be forced to choose the lesser of two evils? This is the result of a “democratic process” that our founding fathers went to great lengths to avoid.