U.S. a “Compound Constitutional Republic?”

You know when politics gets really scary?  When people begin to deny that the United States is a democracy, that is when I start fearing for the current political livelihood of my country.  And when those same people pass laws that make it mandatory for children to learn that America is not a democracy, that is when I begin losing hope for any good future.  I knew I was coming back to a State that is a few ticks short of normal, but I had not idea it was coming to this: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/51390319-76/bill-compound-constitutional-curriculum.html.csp.

So, apparently all of those wars and skirmishes we have fought over the past 40 years haven’t been for the spread of democracy as usually claimed, because conservatives, who claim to represent the majority of us, do not think that we are or should be democratic; so why should we fight for that right for others?  Were we fighting for them to become “compound constitutional republics?”  Does that even mean anything?  There is no actual hard and fast definition for a “compound constitutional republic.”  As far as I know, Sen. Madsen made it up.  I am assuming he means “a political system, backed by a constitution, in which a separation and balance of elected representatives keep each others’ powers in check.”  He does not attempt to explain this, but he does make it a point to imply that democracy has something to do with socialism.  Huh?

Interestingly, I think he knows exactly what he is doing.  Let’s go to dictionary.com for a standard definition of socialism: “a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.”  (By the way, I challenge anyone to describe to me why this is such a bad idea.)  Gosh, what theory or system of political organization does this sound like (see dictionary.com’s definition of democracy here)?  They are so close in meaning that they are practically the same concept.  One deals with politics and one deals with money… but of course, what is politics if not money?  You see, no one is actually teaching socialism in our schools, as Sen. Madsen is suggesting; but we are teaching democracy, and as far as Sen. Madsen and his friends are concerned, it’s the same damn thing.

One problem though.  How does Sen. Madsen think that the “compound constitutional republic” comes about?  Does he think that representatives are elected out of thin air?  I can’t speak for his intelligence, but it should be pretty clear to anyone else that those representatives are elected democratically by The People.  Truth is, we are a “compound constitutional democratic republic,” and to claim and teach otherwise is preposterous and, I think, dangerous.

What message does this new law send to Utah’s youth?  Will their voice matter when they are old enough to vote?  Do we still value We The People?  Or have we been replaced by We The Politicians?  Most importantly, are we so afraid of anything that can be construed as socialism that we are willing to throw out democracy along with it?

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2 thoughts on “U.S. a “Compound Constitutional Republic?”

  1. Since you’re on the subject of the U.S. Constitution and Constitutional Republic, I came across this OP-Ed in our local paper and thought I would share it to try to drum up some comments.

    NEW CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS NOT NEEDED

    Editor:
    The current fad of proposing new amendments to the U.S. Constitution is absurd on several levels.
    First: the U.S. Constitution is not deficient; it is simply despised and ignored. Those members of Congress who despise and ignore the Constitution would despise and ignore the amendments as well.
    Second: as a people, Americans have an abominable record of pasting horrid amendments onto an otherwise outstanding and inspired document due to a conbination of ignorance and arrogance. We are ignorant of the background of the Constitution and the astounding depths of wisdom and understanding forming it.
    There are histories, and Federalist Papers, documenting the sound reasoning behind the Constitution. Yet we are arrogant enough to beleive we have no need to study any of that-nor the Constitution itself for that matter. Anything that pops into our little brains is superior to whatever was in the minds of those who composed the original document.
    As a consequence, we have Amendments XVI (income taxes), XVII (Senators popularly elected, instead of appointed by the state legislatures_ consequently assuring low population states being steamrollered by high population states), XVIII (prohibition, necessitating XXI), XXI (repealing XVII), and XXVI (18 year olds vote). The Constitution would be a better document if we repealed these, rather than added new ones, as bad or worse. For example:
    The balanced budget amendment, if not totally ignored, would be used as an excuse to increase taxes as required to keep spending on unconstitutional programs without limits. The term limits amendment would guarantee that first, the rare Constitutionalist member of Congress would be thrown out with the typical anti-Constitutionalist majority; and second, that no member of congress would have any incentive to abide by the wishes of their constituents, since they’d be thrown out of office, whether they did or not. Better to work for the highest bidding special interest group! The “make Congress share the pain of the legislation they pass” would not only be ignored, but itself ignores the fact that those members supporting such unconstitutional legislation should simply be removed from office.
    The true solutions to all the problems these proposed amendments fail to solve is: first, elect Constitutionalist members of Congress. And second: elect Constitutionalist members to your state legislatures, and encourage them to judiciously use the nullification process to stuff the Congress back into its Constitutionally confined box.
    What say you?
    Big Daddy

  2. Thanks for the comment, Big Daddy. Say I this: I have never quite understood the deification that some people have thrust upon the Constitution, as if it was written by God Himself. I understand it with the Bible, though I disagree that it is infallible; but the Constitution is another thing entirely. Why would we want it to be so static? The world changes, as do people, and a country that is based on a static document will die, mostly because a static document leaves no room for change. I think the founders intended it to be a living document, one that would change as times change while keeping the spirit of its original intent: to sustain a nation built on an idea of a balance of power between the rich/powerful and the commoners.
    Amendments such as prohibition (and the one that repealed it) and Supreme Court rulings that declare corporations people (or super-people who have no limits on campaign contributions) happen when that balance becomes overwhelmed by one side. Amendments, such as those that codified basic civil rights, happen when the balance is restored.
    I have no problem with people in Congress who believe that the Constitution should never change. They are actually representing a portion of the population who believe as much. But what about people like me? Should I not also be represented? I think what the author of the article really means when refering to constitutionalists is “conservative” or “Republican”, and for a party that made such a big fuss about the perils of one-party rule, that is a very ironic position to take. America is conservative, liberal, and moderate all at once, and its representatives should be likewise.

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