The Definition of a Democratic Republic


The Definition of a Democratic Republic

We are nearing the end of our presidential campaign and I look around at many intelligent people worn down by the negative ads and urgent political messages on both sides. There are too many celebrity endorsements, too many news articles, too many political analysts, too many October Surprises, so on and so on. It’s getting to people, and who knows maybe that’s the point now-a-days. A friend of mine who has just recently become a small business owner is in the process of opening a pub. He told me he isn’t going to vote. He said it doesn’t matter who wins. Who cares what party the president belongs to as long as we can eat, drink, and be with friends and family? A couple military friends of mine say that it doesn’t matter who they vote for, the system’s flawed. Other people feel they don’t have a candidate to get behind.

Churchill said democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried. He also said the best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter, but the truth is we have the best system human beings have come up with in order to govern themselves. We are a Democratic Republic, not a true democracy. There is a difference and you should know it. A direct democracy would mean that every citizen in this country would have the opportunity to vote on every issue. That doesn’t even work around my dinner table with my wife, my daughters, and me. A democratic republic means we vote to elect our leaders so they can vote on the issues for us. There is a reason we have elected officials with differing views. Opposing viewpoints are a vital benefit in a modern government and in this way we ensure against dictators or supreme rulers, no one under this system can become Caligula. The president represents all of us and needs to hear all our voices so he can be an accurate representation fo what we believe.

So, my message here is not to the undecided voter, but to those on both sides who have said they will not vote. I’m going to give you a couple reasons you should, regardless of which side you’re on. First and most importantly, the news is filled with stories every year on people actually dying for their right to vote in countries around the world. Seriously, people are getting killed violently to do something too many of us take for granted. It absolutely floors me to hear a veteran say they aren’t going to vote, especially a combat veteran, because I’ve stood in the same foreign soil as they have risking my life with a gun in my hand on the important mission to protect people on their way to the voting booth. In Haiti it was after a revolution; in Iraq it was during the aftermath of war. In the last couple years people around the world unsatisfied with their governments have forced from power rulers in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. Hundreds of people fought and died during this process. All we have to do is fill in a bubble on a ballet. How is that too hard or not worth doing?

I don’t pretend to know what is significant to everyone and I am trying to be non-partisan, but here are some reasons I believe this election is critical:

1. During any environmental, political, or economic emergency the world looks to our country for guidance. How do you want them to see us? The president will have to make some very difficult decisions and he will be faced with problems I don’t have an easy answer for, but that is why we elect the right person for the job. That man has to represent the ideology and the will of our nation. He must be made up of the same stuff we are made of so he can be an accurate representation, an accurate representative.

2. Each president picks a vice-president, Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Commerce, of Agriculture, of Health and Human Services, of Housing and Urban Development, of Transportation, Energy, Homeland Security, et cetera, et cetera. The president also appoints Supreme Court Justices when there is a vacancy and during this next term many insiders say there may well be two of them. As you know these positions are for life and two like-minded judges will sway the court one direction for years to come. This can mean new amendments or overturning old ones. The president shapes the future and he gives each department attention and funding according to the importance the voters put on each issue. In this way we help shape the future whether it be foriegn policy or environmental emergencies.

3. Policies. What is important to you? What is your stance on the Affordable Care Act? The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act? The Blunt Amendment? PBS? Planned Parenthood? Gun Control? Gay Rights? The economy? I can’t see a world where any one person isn’t affected by at least one of these things.

We have one week left and I’m sure life will go on after the election. I’m sure we will all still eat, drink, and be able to have fun with friends and family, but when you vote you are helping to shape the future. You are helping to create policy that will be apart of all of our lives during the time we are not eating, drinking, and being merry. You are having a say on how the world sees us. Voting is your right as an American but it is your responsibility too. Not only because people from other countries around the world died fighting for that right but we have a number of cemeteries here in our country filled with our best men and women who fought for that right as well.

By Sean Davis

Sean Davis is the author of The Wax Bullet War, a Purple Heart Iraq War veteran, and the winner of the Legionnaire of the Year Award from the American Legion in 2015 and the recipient of the Emily Gottfried Emerging Leader, Human Rights award for 2016. His stories, essays, and articles have appeared in the the Ted Talk Book The Misfit’s Manifesto (Simon and Schuster), Forest Avenue Press anthology City of Weird, Sixty Minutes, Story Corps, Flaunt Magazine, The Big Smoke, Human the movie, and much more.

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