Author’s note: This article was written before the vote on Propositions 1 and 2. The outcome does not change the facts and logic.
As children, we began each morning reciting the words: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands…” The words were difficult to understand, particularly because our government employee teacher would tell us we lived in a democracy, not a republic. The United States has never been a democracy. Hopefully, it never will be.
The words democracy, democratic and democrat never appear in the Constitution, its amendments, the Declaration of Independence or any of the constitutions of the states. The words republic and republican appear many times, particularly in Article 10 of the Constitution, which guarantees to every state a republican form of government. The Constitution was written to protect us from democracy and its inherent evils.
Direct democracy is mob rule. When issues arise, everyone votes and the majority controls, until they change their mind. The majority can vote to take away your property or freedoms. If a majority wants something, they will have it, because majority rule becomes the law. Propositions 1 and 2 will be decided by a true democracy. If 50 percent + 1 of the voters approve, they will become the law, regardless of the consequences. This is particularly true when out of political expediency both gubernatorial candidates state they will follow the decision of the majority.
A republic does not practice direct democracy but is indirectly controlled by the people. The people vote for representatives, who sacrifice their own interest, spend time to understand the facts and issues, and then cast their votes.
Those representatives are not bound to follow the will of the majority, particularly if the majority chooses evil. A republic is governed by a constitution which follows republican principles and laws adopted by representatives who are not subject to the whim of the majority, which is often influenced by the rhetoric of the media (think fake news) and special interests (medical-pharmaceutical complex).
I do not want to be governed by someone who believes the majority is always right, especially when the facts show the majority is wrong. A true statesman will act according to moral principle, even if his constituents disagree and choose not to re-elect him.
If Idaho allows majority rule to replace constitutional law and republican principles, we are doomed to follow the many failed democracies which have preceded us. If you voted in favor of Propositions 1 and 2 you should fear the day when the majority turns against you and takes away your property and freedom, while chanting: “It’s the right thing to do.”
When the majority learns they can take from others, they will quickly take everything. Direct democracy will never bring freedom, only anarchy and sorrow.