Democracy? That in itself is an un-sustainable entity, friend. Democracy means rule of the people. At this time we are living under "Rule by
Presidential Edict." The two most common forms of democracy are direct democracy and representative democracy. In direct democracy everyone takes
part in making a decision, as in a town meeting or a referendum. The specific rules may vary: perhaps everyone must agree, perhaps there must be
consensus, perhaps a mere majority is required to make a decision. The other, better known form of democracy is a representative democracy. People
elect representative to make decisions or laws. Again, specifics vary greatly. In America the elective College elects a president, not a popular
And, surprise, a Representative Democracy is a kind of Republic.
Benjamin Franklin (1706–90) was asked:
“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”
He replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”
What distinguishes a Republic is that it has an fully elected government. Representative democracies are, therefor, a kind of republic. Self-appointed
governments such as monarchies, dictatorships, oligarchies, theocracies and juntas are not republics. However, this still allows for a wide spectrum.
The classic is the Roman Republic, in which only a tiny percentage of citizens, members of the nobility, were allowed to vote for the Senators, who
made the laws and also acted as Rome's supreme court. Most people would say that Rome was a Republic, but not a democracy, since it was very close to
being an oligarchy, rule by the few. Although the Roman Republic was not a dictatorship (until Augustus Caesar grabbed power), it did not allow for
rule of the people. In both theory and practice the Soviet Union, that late evil empire, was a republic (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) because
the lawmakers were elected, if only by the Communist Party members.
Beginning with the Constitution's adoption, America has been a Republic. But the dominant trend over the last two centuries has been to make it into
a democracy as well, a representative democracy, also known as a democratic republic.
The simple fact is that the United States is a constitutional republic, not a democracy. It is inaccurate to use the two terms interchangeably. The
source of authority and treatment of minorities are different for these two forms of government. In a democracy, the majority rules, meaning that
there are no protections for minority rights. Whatever the majority wants rules the day. A republic, in contrast, is rule by law, and the law can
protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority.
In a Democracy, People hold the power to rule directly. Examples of democracy in action in this country include initiative and referendum, where the
people vote directly on specific issues. Naturally, it would be impractical to try to administer an entire country if the people had to have a direct
vote on every issue. According to Madison: "In a democracy, the people meet and exercise the government in person; in a republic, they assemble and
administer it by their representatives and agents" (Federalist Papers, 14, 1787). avalon.law.yale.edu...
So, to sum up, America is a Democratic Republic, plain and simple. By, and for, the People. Let's not ever forget that.