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Why do we vote for leaders instead of followers? Isn't this a democracy?

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posted on Jan, 13 2009 @ 02:49 AM
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The 'Prez' is my shepherd... he leadeth me down the garden path.

Question: If democracy is a form of government in which power is held by the people, why do we vote for politicians offering leadership?




posted on Jan, 13 2009 @ 05:21 AM
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Because the US is not a democracy. It is democratically elected republic. And even that is debatable due to large populations in a few key states.

It is possible to win the election by winning eleven states and disregarding the rest of the country. If one were to take California (55 votes), Texas (34), New York (31), Florida (27), Illinois (21), Pennsylvania (21), Ohio (20), Michigan (17), Georgia (15), New Jersey (15), and North Carolina (15), that ticket would have 271 votes, which would be enough to win regardless how the rest of the country votes.

That is of course relating to just the presidency.

As for both the House and the Senate fortune favors the incumbent by name recognition. Of course this can and is tipped by overwhelming campaign spending so uninformed voters may vote for the more familiar name. Of course blind party affiliation voting also comes into play. This is how some politicians remain seated their entire political lives like Ted Kennedy for example despite a problem of alcoholism for many years.



posted on Jan, 13 2009 @ 08:34 PM
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Thanks Ahabstar. I live in a Commonwealth country with the British parliamentary system of democracy. As far as my original question is concerned, does the difference between our two forms of democracy matter? Political power is supposed to reside with the people in both our countries, isn't it? Question is, why do we (as people who say we believe in democracy) vote for people who promise leadership instead of people who promise to follow orders. In his last press conference before leaving office, President Bush bragged that he stuck to his policies despite how unpopular those policies became. What is he bragging about?



posted on Jan, 13 2009 @ 11:16 PM
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Originally posted by Rumpelstiltskin
The 'Prez' is my shepherd... he leadeth me down the garden path.

Question: If democracy is a form of government in which power is held by the people, why do we vote for politicians offering leadership?


If you think the United States was ever a "democracy", you are sadly ignorant of your own history.

Here is a quote from Thomas Jefferson that exemplifies why we never were a democracy: "Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on lunch. A Republic is a well-armed sheep contesting the vote."



posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 12:21 AM
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Originally posted by sir_chancealot
If you think the United States was ever a "democracy", you are sadly ignorant of your own history.

Here is a quote from Thomas Jefferson that exemplifies why we never were a democracy: "Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on lunch. A Republic is a well-armed sheep contesting the vote."



You would know that your republic is not my country if you had read what was already in this short thread before starting your reply. I see from one of your own threads that you think lying should be penalized on ATS. Do you think members who do not read through threads before replying to them should also be penalized? What about members who reply but don't address the question or issue raised in the thread? I say toss 'em all in the hoosegow.

All kidding (sort of) aside, I believe the question I have posed in this thread still stands despite your quote, and you are welcome back to answer if you would like.



posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 05:33 PM
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I may make some mistakes along the way, so keep in mind this is how I believe our governments work and not knowing which country you are from I will use England's Parliament, which I am the lessor knowledgeable about.

The Preamble to the US Constitution lays out the unusual particular (at the time) that We the People found this nation and allow it to operate under the following rules. In comparing Congress to Parliament you have the House of Representatives and the Senate in Congress and the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The House of Commons is made up of elected officials where the House of Lords are positions filled only by those of the royal caste and only those families that have filled the position that their title granted provided a seat in the House of Lords was granted. Like the Duke of York or the Bishop of Winchester, although there are now restrictions on heraldic positions and most Lords are now appointed. A Lord can lose his seat by bankruptcy, high treason or removal by the Prime Minister or King/Queen for good reason.

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate positions are filled by direct election. The difference between the two is that the House has as many seats as the population of the home state divides the state into districts of roughly equal population (693, 000 on average). Here is where things can be manipulated as there is no real guideline on how these districts are drawn, thus roughly 90% of all Representatives run for re-elect with little serious competition. The Senate is made up of two Senators from each state, so if Texas were to cede from the union (the only state legally able to do so) then we would have 98 Senators.

The Office of the President is granted only by the Electorial College (or by appointment by the House in the event of a tie). The general election only determines which candidate's electors get to vote. So while electors are free to vote however they choose, they almost always vote for who won the general election in their state.

The Prime Minister is the . of the party in control of the Commons and seems to be appointed by the party although there must be some sort of condition of acceptance somewhere that I am missing either by the Lords or the Crown.



posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 08:06 PM
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I appreciate the information in your reply and learned some things I didn't already know, but I don't see where you addresses the question raised in this thread, which is why we vote for politicians offering leadership instead of obedience to the public will. You are welcome back to answer. P.S., No House of Lords in my country, but we do have an appointed Senate made up of members selected from a pool of the usual suspects.



posted on Jan, 15 2009 @ 03:43 PM
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reply to post by Rumpelstiltskin
 


My guess as to why we vote in "leaders" instead of true representation is that the majority of people are sold on the idea that we need leadership and elect who we feel has the best qualities of being a leader.

Unfortunately there are two problems with this mindset. Anyone can look like a leader by acting like a leader around those willing to be lead. And seldom do leaders think of the benefit of their followers over themselves. Often the only thing that such leaders seem to think as the prime goal is to gather as much money and/or power with the least amount of effort.

Funny thing is that everyone wants to see a change on how the government operates but very few will stand up to the challenge to be the catalyst of such change, feeling it is beyond their ability or control. The government and the way it does things only exists because we allow it to exist. The majority of the people were against the Bailout, a great number called their Representatives in the House and said very clearly that their vote was to be "no". When it went to the Senate, the people gave in after passage. All it would have took was a few of those people to call the Governor of their state and tell him to immediately recall the Senator(s) that voted yes or face resignation voluntarily or by force if needed. That Senate vote would have been overturned by the House rather quickly...all in the interest of protecting their own jobs.

But for most people, so long as they can watch Dancing with the Stars and American Idol, they are content to just deal with what is dealt to them. I can only hope that come Feb 17 that enough of them become empowered by losing their precious TV.



posted on Jan, 15 2009 @ 04:45 PM
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Wow, great reply Ahabstar! Unless someone else can add or take away from what you just said, I think the subject of this thread has reached it's logical conclusion, leaving only a solution to the problems identified here by you to be found. I am exploring a possible solution on another thread entitled, “Cooperation Is More Profitable Than Competition,” which I invite you to participate in, now that you have closed this thread, as far as I'm concerned.



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