It is essential to such a [republic] government, that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion ~ James Madison
We are a Republic
Have we forgotten who we are? Our forefathers spent much time researching all the different types of governments and understood the flaws and strengths of each. By the time of the writing of the Constitution, the American people had jelled around a republic. In the Federalist Papers where James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay were trying to convince the American people that the Constitution should be ratified, James Madison wrote:
The question that offers itself is, whether the general form and aspect of the government be strictly republican? It is evident that no other form would be reconcilable with the genius of the people of America: with the fundamental principles of the revolution; or with the honorable determination, which animates every votary of freedom to rest all our political experiment on the capacity of mankind for self-government. If the plan of the Convention therefore be found to depart from the republican character, its advocates must abandon it as no longer defensible.
In simple terms if it wasn’t republican then there was no point in trying to convince people to accept it. So what does it mean to be a republic? James Madison, even in his time, understood it meant different things to different people. And some countries that called themselves a republic were not republican. So Madison defined what America saw a republic to be:
If we resort for a criterion to the different principles on which different forms of government are established, we may define a republic to be, or at least may bestow that name on, a government which derives all it powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people; and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure, for a limited period, or during good behavior. It is essential to such a government, that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion, not a favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans, and claim for their government the honorable title of republic.
You can replace nobles with any group of people – socialists, Christians, secular humanists, libertarians, etc. If there is a small group of people (it does not matter the group), who force their views on the society – who instead of persuading the people that their way is superior, game the system to gain power, then we are no longer a republic. Our freedoms are based on allowing the free flow of ideas. When we close our minds to listening we all lose.
There is a small group in the Republican Party who has been trying to game the system. Take a look at the instructions given to Alaska Ron Paul delegates and alternates:
We vote as a block and never deviate from the voting instructions dispensed by our command center. On every vote, we vote together. We will be informing you via text message on how you need to vote on every vote that comes up. The Santorum, Gingrich, and Romney supporters will be splitting their votes because they will not be communicating with each other like we will be doing. Our internal numbers show that if Santorum, Gingrich, and Romney delegates vote as a block they have a majority at the state convention, So it is absolutely crucial we use whatever tactics necessary to promote division and confusion amongst their supporters. We promote confusion and division by: a) gaining the trust of our opponents’ supporters and taking advantage of their ignorance so that we can gain control of them….. b) deception and misinformation – use any means necessary to divide and conquer our opponents….
We had about 15 of these people elected in Oregon. If this is what Ron Paul stands for, it is very sad. For those of you who have been a follower of Ron Paul, is this the kind of America you want? One ruled by tyrants? If Ron Paul’s ways are truly the best for America, can you not convince the people by honest debate and truth? The truth sets people free – not lies and deception.
So what is a republican form of Government? It is a government that has freedom of speech, where we listen to everyone, try to persuade those who disagree with us why they are wrong and convince them that what we believe is true and right. We do not silence those who have a stronger and better argument and at the end of the day we let the majority opinion rule. As precinct committee people we are to represent our precinct. When we send people to the national convention they should be representing the majority of the people in the district we represent. You can look at the votes in your precinct and know who you should be sending to the convention. Those who are going to the convention should be voting for the candidate the people in Oregon voted for.
If we lose our republic, we lose our Freedom!
Lea Williams is the Washington County Republican Precinct Chair and a Delegate to the State Central Committee