Quite frequently, we hear people, today, from all sides of the political spectrum, say, “they [Congress] are not doing the will of the people”! But, should Congress be doing the will of the people?
In our Federal Constitution, the framers gave The United States Congress specific, Enumerated Powers to which they could legislate. And, in Article 4, Section 4, of The Constitution, the below words were written:
“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government…”
A Republic is a state or a country that is not led by a monarchy, and which the people have an impact on it’s government. We, in The United States, are a Constitutional Republic, governed by the rule of law, and by which We, The People, and our states, are “represented” by elected officials, in Congress. The word Republic is derived from the Latin phrase “res publica,“ which is translated to English as “public thing,” or “public affair.”
The framers of The U.S. Constitution, set up our [Federal] Republic so that the states were represented, in Congress, via The Senate, as the “state legislatures” elected their respective Senators, and the people directly elected their Representatives, to represent them in The House of Representatives, in Congress.
While each House of Congress were given separate Constitutional duties by our Founders, the original intentions of The Founders was also to have The Senators guard the interests of their respective states, from an over-reaching, and often, power-hungry, Central Government, while the concerns of the people were to be represented in The House of Representatives. The 17th Amendment, basically, turned the Founders original intents on it’s head, by making it so that “the people” can directly elect their Senators, the same way they do, their Representatives. This amendment, basically, wiped out the bulwark that the states once had, in Congress, against an over-reaching Federal Government, who, quite frequently, appeal to the shallow requests of the citizenry, with no regards to their Constitutionally Limited Powers, as a form of re-election insurance. Or, stated differently, by bribing the citizens. In Alexis de Tocqueville’s 1840 book, “Democracy in America,” he wrote these astute words:
“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”
In our respective states, the people, via their Constitutions, can basically create the form of Government that they think best meets their needs, and provides for their security. And, in some states, the elected Representatives even call for referendums, to which the people of that state can directly vote on specific issues. While referendums etc. vary from state to state, such things often make the states more of a democracy. And, if the people of that state, and their state legislatures, want to have more democracy, to where the people are directly involved in the issues, then, that is their “sovereign right” as a state.
We often hear, from politicians, and citizens, of all parties, that we are a democracy; or, when referring to our country, they use terms like, “our Democracy.” But, nothing can be further from the truth! Our Federal Constitution, and Government, basically, are the only thing that binds this union of “sovereign states” together; and, no where in our Federal Constitution did the framers use the word “Democracy,” to describe this union. In fact, in Federalist #10, of “The Federalist Papers,” James Madison, who is widely considered The Father of our Constitution, wrote the below commentary:
”Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”
The Founders understood that, historically, when placing public policy into the hands of the general citizenry, or allowing them to directly vote for the politicians, often, if not usually, it ended in chaos; as the citizens often voted for the temporary, and shallow things, as opposed to what was actually in the general interest of the public, and good public policy. Alexander Fraser Tytler explained it as such:
“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”
Therefore, it is my humble opinion, and the opinion of many others, that the problems we face today, are not from our Congress not doing the will of people, but, rather, from doing too much of the people’s will!
In our Constitutional Republic, the will of the people, and through our Representatives, should “begin and end” with the Limited, and Enumerated Powers, given to Congress, by our Founders. Unfortunately, Congress, by rejecting those Limited Powers, and by doing the direct will of the people, is what has helped bring our country to this sad place in our history; and which has so corrupted our Federal Government, and dishonored our Constitution.