America: A Republic...Not a Democracy
The Republic of America
Growing up here in America, I was always told that I lived in a Democracy. We hear a lot here about our democratic system. Our leaders brag that this is the "Greatest Democracy" in the world. In fact, if you asked most people, they would probably agree that America is indeed a democracy.
It's not. It's a Republic!
A Republic, by definition, is a system where the leader is not a king of other monarch. Instead, the chief executive is legislated by a mandate from the public, to make decisions for the population. A Republic is a Representative Democracy. The elected leader (Or leaders) has the proxy vote for all his/her/their citizens/subjects, and for an established period of time (As legally agreed to before the election) represents them in the making of laws and rules.
This is different than a direct or standard Democracy. In a true Democracy, sovereignty derives from the direct participation of all citizen. A motion is passed and every person has a say on whether or not to pass the law or reject it. In a Democracy, initiatives can be put out by members of the public, voted on and enacted as law. The public thus has veto power over all laws and rules passed by any magistrate or authority figure.
In a real democracy, the public would decide, by majority vote, what would be done about important legal issues like taxes, immigration, abortion, war and just about everything else.
But this is America and we live in a Republic. Our only decision is to chose who we want making decisions for us. Once the leader is in power, he/she/they can do whatever they want until its time for the next election.
For instance, late in his tenure in office. George Bush had a 35% percent approval rating but was still empowered to make decisions for us all, despite the fact that his agenda was unpopular with the majority of the country. In a real Democracy, the public could have voted down his initiatives and forced their own agenda.
So the next time anyone says that America is a great democracy, you can tell them that it's not a democracy. Its a republic. Remember the line in our national Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag...
..."And to the REPUBLIC, for which it stands!"