Of democracy and disrespect to the voters


Two weeks ago, I read in UCW that the U.S. was not a democracy. I couldn’t quite believe my own eyes. David Waddell claims that no variation of the word democracy appears in the constitution, but that the U.S. is a republic. The Norwegian constitution states that Norway is a kingdom without mentioning that the country is a democracy. Great Britain is a kingdom, but that country has no constitution.

Norway, Britain, and the U.S. are all democracies, but we have different forms of government. The word democracy comes from the Greek word demokratía, which means “rule of the people”. It has nothing to do whether your country is a kingdom or a republic. Technically Waddell is correct, but we live in the real world.

Mr. Waddell claims a republic is a form of government where supreme power is held by the citizens entitled to vote. That may be what the constitution says. In reality the country is ruled by the party that wins an election, at the present time it is pretty much a stalemate.

As far as Indian Trail is concerned its power is granted by the state. Its mayor and town council are directly elected by the people. Indian Trail is ruled by a fraction of the electorate. Less than 10 percent of the electorate voted last November.

He also claims that the 907 people that voted for him did so because he was against approving a bond to widen the Old Monroe Road. The road name tells you it is old and needs to be widened. There were of course many other reasons why people voted for Mr. Waddell. They might be members of the same church, they might like his looks, they may sympathize with the Constitution Party, it could be that because he was the last of the candidates on the ballot list, it could be because of a plumbing job he did for one or several residents.

Again I stress, he claims the supreme power is held by the citizens entitled to vote. For the Thoroughfare Bonds Referendum, 54.58 percent of the voters voted yes, but only 17.24 percent voted for him. We respect Mr. Waddell as a councilman, and he should respect that 54.58 percent of the voters voted for the Thoroughfare Bonds Referendum.

Severin Jacobsen

Indian Trail

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2 Responses

  1. Mr. Jacobsen, as one who has visited other countries, and as an instructor of history, I must say that your construction and usage of democracy is positively erroneous and quite the common misnomer. Allow me to share with you the science of etymology, the study of the origin, historical development, and morphology of words.

    Democracy (démocratie) is from 14th Century Middle French, which derived from the Middle Latin of the 13th Century (democratia). Your Greek word (demokratia) is more precisely understood as “popular government.” [demos: “common people” or “district” + kratos: “rule” and “strength”. Simplified, democracy can be described as “50% + 1” or as “mob or majority rule”.

    John Adams quipped that democracy was self-destructive. Karl Marx later said that democracy was the road to socialism.

    Those who founded the United States rightly understood history and saw the folly in creating a system that was so fraught with dangers of devolving into the tyrannies from which so many fled and fought against. Kind Sir, please familiarize yourself with primary documents such as “The Federalist Papers”, where they discuss at great length the imperative of establishing a larger Republic to unite the many smaller republics. The modern educational system has done a masterfully terrible and successful watering down of proper historical contextualization.

    Your first paragraph exquisitely demonstrates that point. Great Britain, though certainly possesses no single document, such as is found in the United States, it does have Parliamentary Sovereignty, and is considered to be a Constitutional Monarchy. It was in England that the Magna Carta, or the Great Charter, was birthed. Though not a constitution in its truest sense, it became the precursor to future, more refined efforts to limit authoritarianism and despotism, and to broaden the scope of what was later termed “Natural Law or Rights.”

    The criticism leveled against Mr. Waddell assumed privileged knowledge by the author that readers would not have deduced for themselves, had they been left to come to their own conclusions. After correcting Mr. Waddell for his factual error, he was credited for being “technically correct”. Either he was correct or incorrect. He could not be both.

    The Constitution of the United States is still the law of the land, regardless of how one may reinterpret its contents and modern application. Unless Mr. Jacobsen has the omnipotence to recreate the reality of the Constitution’s original intent as espoused by its craftsmen, it is highly suggested to refrain from embarking on crusades to enlighten minds of nobler quality.

    George Washington warned in his Farewell Address not to become divided by sectarianism. Political parties do not rule the country simply by winning elections, no more than conferences rule leagues like the NFL, NBA, and MLB, by winning championships. The nature, character, and principles that supposedly govern parties shift like the changing of the four seasons. If the country is definitively a democracy, then parties ought to be non-factors. The results should be determined by the person who got the most votes, regardless of which party they belonged to and by what margin. Even if the victor were to only receive a single vote more, they should then be crowned the winner.

  2. Mr. Jacobsen said, “Technically Waddell is correct…”

    I rest my case, thank you.