Representative Democracy; what on earth were our fore fathers thinking?

I have been watching with interest and sadness all the protest and vitriol in response to Trump being the president elect.  There is simply no precedent for this level of reaction to the civilized exercising of our civic responsibility in voting for our top leadership.  Calls for the elimination of the Electoral College, threats to move out of the country combined with American flag burning, vandalism and chants of “not my f***ing president” and “stupid rural people” are being seen and heard in the streets and college campuses coast to coast.  And not just a few people in a few places, 10s of thousand in dozens of places across America.  So, what were our fore fathers thinking?

Well first of all I can tell you they were in fact thinking and even though I am solidly one of those rural people who grew up in West Texas cotton country, I did at least learn to read which, when applied to history books, has enabled this “stupid rural” person to learn a few things.

There are subtle yet vital differences between a pure democracy (i.e. popular vote) and a representative democracy (Senate & House of Representatives and Electoral College).  And it was in fact history which caused our founders to choose something other than a pure democracy as our form of government since all previous democracies had ultimately destroyed themselves.  They also had a central founding principal which was that all men are created equal in stark contrast to the ruling elite practices of the countries they had come from.  It was this commitment to equality which caused them to choose a representative democracy.  Keep in mind; it was in fact the ruling elite of the day which penned the documents upon which we launched our union.  But those ruling elite saw the wisdom in structuring our government in such a way that smaller or less populated communities and states (where our food, manufactured goods and raw materials came from) were represented in such a way that the highly populated cities and states couldn’t “run rough shod” over the “rural” people groups.  A very simple example might be 10 groups who collectively use a particular venue.  8 groups have 10 members each and 2 groups have 50 members each.  If run in a purely democratic fashion the 2 larger groups, which would likely have similar “wants” for the venue, could band together and completely ignore the “wants” of the other 8 groups even though the other 8 groups use the venue 4 times as often.  But a wise manager (government) would see the wisdom in giving measured control to the 8 smaller groups so they feel like they have equal ownership.

That is a very brief and incomplete explanation, but it hits most of the high points as to why they did what they did.  They simply wanted to put into practice, and not just words, the principals that would support the revolutionary concept that all men are created equal.

So today you have pockets of those “ruling elites” (college students, millennials and Hollywood types to name a few) out there on the streets and social media attempting to undo the framework put in place to try and insure the longevity of our “union”.  So what if the “stupid rural” people carried the day.  It’s not the end of the world as some are acting like!  Put your big girl panties on, stop your crying and strategize how you’re going to work to change things over the next 4-8 years and perhaps flip the leadership back over the next few election cycles.  Because, let me tell you, the rash of colleges who have canceled test, handed out hot cocoa, offered therapy dogs and passes to skip classes to those students traumatized by the election results only reinforces your privileged mindset and won’t help one bit in the end.  As a country, we will get through this, but we need each other, the smart ones, the “stupid” ones, everyone – warts and all.

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