Understanding the Importance of Exercising one’s “Democratic” Rights in the US Republic.
My political observations are based more upon the observation of history and society at large, than upon theory – so I won’t indulge in the debate of what is a better form of government, a Republic or a Democracy. But what is interesting, is that from the very beginning of the drafting of the American Constitution there were some problems – mainly that the first three words upon which our nation is based – “We the people” would only represent an elite class of white men for over a century. (One could argue by looking at who in the U.S.A. represents the government and dominant economy – that while more Americans participate percentage wise, the allotment of the American Pie slices really hasn’t changed all that much.)
And since then the Constitution has had to be amended twice to allow African Americans, and women to vote. In 1869, the 15th Amendment gave African American men the right to vote, but African American women would have to wait until 20 years into the next century with the rest of the women to be granted voting rights by the 19th Amendment.
Even now, women in this country have had less than a hundred years of voting, while white men have had over 200, and black men have had nearly a century and a half of voting rights. To be sure, racist policies across the nation have have severely limited African Americans from easy access to voting, but “in theory”, men have been significantly ahead in achieving their full civil rights in this country than women.
Now this is just an “example” of two fundamental problems with a Republic – 1) It can only be as strong as the Constitution it is based upon; 2) Even if the Constitution upholds the best ideals a Nation can aspire to – If those who serve and protect it lack the same enlightened consciousness of the Constitution; i.e. – forefathers leaving out the majority of the Nation’s populous OUT of the discussion of governance, while still proclaiming _ WE the people … Well truly, how can we, the true people, win?
The ONLY counterbalance, to the intransigence of a Republic toward change of any kind, IS the Democratic voice of the people. Without the full participation, of the great popular diversity of our nation, we are stuck in the straightjacket of a government/constitution make-up that no longer serves the Nation as a whole. If we want to KEEP the stability of our government, we need to make our voices heard so that certain constitutional amendments can be made in our lifetimes. Generations upon generations of American Women and African Americans lived in this country as 2nd or less class citizens, due to the lack of an ability to vote.
One of the most crucial of these Constitutional discussions of late, is how to address the last few Supreme Court hearings that have struck down the campaign finance laws, which were meant to keep corruption at bay in the elections process.
- 2010 Citizens United vs. SpeechNow – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campaign_finance_in_the_United_States#Citizens_United_and_SpeechNow
- 2014 McCutcheon vs.Federal Elections Comission – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCutcheon_v._FEC
It was the 14th amendment that granted corporations “personhood” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_personhood and this is the reason the Supreme Court ruled in favor of McCutcheon. Because the majority of the Justices saw that putting limits on a corporations campaign contributions violated the rights of “personhood” that it was granted in the 14th amendment.
So … you see, with our present Republic, only the most powerful voices – whether they are energized by money or quantity of people can make a difference when it comes to challenging serious problems concerning our constitution.
If you want to be part of the Democratic OUTCRY demanding that our Constitution be reformed to prioritize the rights of PEOPLE versus the abstract personhood of corporations, please visit the links to the following petitions which seek to change the currently corrupt campaign finance system.