What part of this our representative government restrains a majority of the People from imposing a tyrannical rule over their fellow citizens this very hour? Our civil rights are, of course, enshrined into law by a federal constitution. But are these, our rights, then safeguarded by the document itself?
If a passionate majority were moved to impose itself upon a minority, as has occurred in the Middle East many times now, of what use is a dictatorship, to say nothing of a constitutional republic? In either case sheer numbers will prevail. Oft times, then, that timeless moment of truth falls in which armed government forces either fire upon their own people or they stand down and submit to a change of master.
But is this dramatic revolutionary moment ever necessary in order to give full voice to the majority faction — or even to a minority faction? And must it be that the one faction supplants the other, imposing then its own unique values back upon the other?
The problem would seem to be rooted there — in the demand placed by whichever faction holds power — embodied by a dictatorial regime or by a majority of 535 elected representatives — that within their shared political territory the other faction or factions renounce their deeply held values.
Would not a system that divides the political territory into its smallest functional units ameliorate the perpetual tension and unrest, allowing all factions to express their own values, only as widely as they were actually represented in the country?
Yet a federal constitution still could guarantee that all citizens within the entire territory were free to travel, emigrate, and settle anywhere they wished. Constitutional provisions could also be included to ensure that every community reaches a minimum level of civic responsibility that guarantees none would impose a burden upon another.
So is it luck alone that explains why we have not yet seen that revolutionary factionalism here? Is it due to our representative scheme of government — not so representative as a parliamentary system yet more so than most others?
Or is it even conceivable that the credit rests not so much in our adopted political system but in the unique vein of character that determined our choice of system in the first place?
Did we tolerate taxation without representation? Centuries ago we respected religious liberty and individual freedoms — as much or more than any nation on Earth before us. These values were reflected in our Declaration of Independence well before we penned and ratified the current constitution.
Slavery taints that period in our history to be sure. But did we not then fight, one against another, brother against brother, over this very same issue only a few generations later? Where else do we see such conscientiousness, then, thereafter, or now?
Wouldn’t it be ironic and a bit sad if, over all those many generations, through the scores of decades past, we clung unnecessarily to a representative democracy based almost entirely upon the unfounded misgivings of an elite few men, men whose hopes were understandably then subdued by a long history without record of any nation the likes of which they were there assembled to create?
So do we ever finally outgrow this centuries-old inferiority complex of ours? Could we ever let fall behind us the crutch of Congress? Don’t we deserve more credit than what accrues to us this day?
Where do you stand?