My son came to me earlier this evening and asked about what principles embody the democracy in which we live. This quickly caught my attention, as any person who claims to be a citizen of this great nation known as the United States of America should easily recognize the simple yet significant mistake underlying this question. I’ve italicized the word “should” because the fact of the matter is a high percentage of US citizens actually believe we live in a democracy and this couldn’t be further from the truth. I have a lot of respect for my son and the error in his question isn’t a sign of any deficiency in his intellect, but rather a sign of the lack of political education and common misconception that runs throughout most of these United States. The fact that this misconception is common certainly does not make it accurate. The truth of the matter is that the United States is a Republic and the difference between the two is dramatic and should never be glossed over or assumed to be one and the same.
After the Constitutional Convention, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin, “Sir, what have you given us?” His immediate response was, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”
Why was Franklin’s response so significant? Knowing that a democracy is a government of men in which the tyranny of the majority rules, America’s Founding Fathers wisely created a republic — a government ruled by law. The following short video explains the five primary forms of government and how they differ from each other.
Let’s review what we all started our school day with as we grew up long ago:
I pledge allegiance to the Flag
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands,
one Nation under God,
with liberty and justice for all.
A simple question from my son. An inspired response of his father to help the entire family better understand what we all should already know. I share it with you with the hopes that it helps you better understand the nation which we proudly call our home as well. May we never lose sight these principles on our watch.