Everyone wants their voice be heard. Happily, when our great nation was founded, great care was taken to ensure that everyone and every place was represented. We have a representative style of government. Each vote was designed to be important on an individual, city, county, state and country basis. Recognizing that the needs of citizens vary widely by location, the founders wisely chose a system of proportional voting and citizen representatives that would represent each locality. They rejected the concept of a “pure” democracy where a simple majority determines the outcome for everyone. They knew from experience and history that “pure democracy” quickly morphs into tyranny that can allow the majority to enslave the minority. It was recognized explicitly that everyone has rights originating from God – and not coming from the state, or the majority – and that these rights must be protected. It took a Civil War to fully implement the concept.
Diffusing governmental power weakens the ability of politicians to scaremonger via emotional appeals. It promotes stability and fairness. It allows decisions to be appealed to a higher authority. In our great governmental system, protecting the minority and to preventing government abuse of power is implemented by dispersing that power in a number of well considered ways.
1. At both the state and local levels, power is decentralized into the separate branches of government: Executive, Judicial, Legislative. Thus, absolute power cannot be centralized. Tyranny is avoided.
2. Most governmental decisions are not decided directly by the people but rather by their elected representatives at the city, county, state and national levels, who are charged with serving the people in the localities they represent and also charged with protecting their “inalienable” rights. Proportional voting promotes stability by limiting the vagaries of the electorate.
3. To promote fairness in congress, proportional voting is implemented in two ways. Two and only two Senators are elected from each state for the Senate. In the House of Representatives each state has a number of Representatives that match it’s relative population. This keeps the large states from dominating over the small states – and vice-versa. It helps avoid an “us against them” regional attitude and promotes compromise.
4. To ensure everyone and every state is represented fairly in national elections, proportional voting is implemented in the Electoral College. Each state has electors who vote for President in a “winner takes all” fashion, and the number of Electors is determined by state population. Thus politicians are obliged to campaign in varied and disparate states and address the needs of all the people rather than just focusing on big media markets.
5. Changes to the constitution are made as amendments, which must be approved by two thirds of Congress and then by three fourths of the states. This allows change but sets a high bar, further promoting stability. So far, only 27 amendments have been added to the original Constitution.
In our country today, as it has been from the beginning, there are power hungry politicians who desire the power of a more totalitarian system that can be changed on a whim and are perfectly willing to deceive the electorate if they can to get the power they seek. They wish to overthrow inconvenient constitutional protections that pose a barrier to them. Without constitutional protections is place, voting is a sham and is never an agent of change. It can even be personally dangerous. However, under our constitutional republic every person and place is represented at each level and with rights that are protected by multiple layers of governance and representation. Make sure your voice and your vote continues to matter in multiple ways and at multiple levels by supporting constitutional principles that ensure freedom for all. Let freedom ring!