Tuesday, September 05, 2006

hmmm.... more food for thought

jovial cynic from new protest brought up a fine point- republic vs. democracy. which are we? having read the definitions of both- my thought is that we are a republic masquerading as a democracy. you can judge for yourself.

republic:
1.a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.
2.any body of persons viewed as a commonwealth.
3.a state in which the head of government is not a monarch or other hereditary head of state.

democracy:
1.government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.
2.a state having such a form of government: The United States and Canada are democracies.
3.a state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges.
4.political or social equality; democratic spirit.
5.the common people of a community as distinguished from any privileged class; the common people with respect to their political power.

6 comments:

jovial_cynic said...

As a side note, I'm not a big fan of pure democracy NOR a republic.

In a pure democracy, 51% beats out 49%. What happens to the diverse minority? They go unheard, because the minority, by definition, will never occupy the majority of the vote.

In a Republic, or "representative democracy," the situation is better for the diverse minority if they have an audience with an elected official. Of course, the problem with a republic is that the goal of an elected official is to stay elected, which often means that he's going to appeal to the majority. Votes are the currency of politicians, after all.

Positive change doesn't happen top down, anyway. It happens virually. If there is a social problem in your area, work towards fixing it, and encourage others in your sphere of influence to do the same. Those who have the means should help those who do not. If you have enough people on the bottom of politics helping each other out, you have a functioning grass-roots movement.

carbunclefrank said...

There might have been a time in America that one could define us as a people to be republican or democrat. That time is long past. We are neither. Votes and influence are bought by PACs and monied people close to any elected officials inner circle. We assume when we vote that a majority will win. In todays politics, that is not neccesarily the case. What we end up doing is living with the results as best we can til the next election and hope we get it right on our next try. But try we must and that is the reason we still live free.....for now.

Clampett said...

It's a republic by definition and function, a republic being "an empire of laws and not men".

It's also called a 'constitutional democracy', if I'm not mistaken.

We have 'the rule of law'.

A lynch mob is democratic (a mob vs. one person), but that's outlawed in our republic.

Although we do have the bad habit of spreading forms of government we don't even practice; such as juntas, oligarchies, dictatorships and 'democracies'.

Frederick said...

We are a Republic, we have a ruling class of "betters." A Democracy is far superior, if, preferential voting systems are used.

Peacechick Mary said...

I read that the founders of our constitution planned to have the House of Representatives elected by popular vote and then the House would nominate and elect Senators. That way, we would get the benefits fo the Republic and a Democracy. That fell apart and then the electoral college came in to play and we are screwed either way. So, I'd say, we are neither and Republic nor a Democracy, just some crazy mishmash of something that could be better.

5th Estate said...

by the definitions provided I'd say republic fits the bill-"supreme power exercised by reps. xhosen directly or INDIRECTLY", versus "supreme power exercised by the people OR their elected agents under a FREE electoral system".

An electoral college is not "free" and the US is not by this definition a "demoocracy". nor was it intended to be.

It all comes down to practical representation. I can't argue it right now but pure democracy may not exist anywhere in the western world.

as you said... more food for thought--I'll think about it tomorrow LD