— GoHome ToMommy (@reimagination1) January 13, 2017
I am seeing this more and more from the Trump fans who I meet in face-to-face encounters and online. In the last month I have been told over and over again that America is a “republic” and not a “democracy.”
Of course we are a republic. But we are also a democracy in the sense that the people play a role in electing their public officials. We have become more and more democratic over the years. The Electoral College, for example, largely votes according to the will of the people. Unlike the original Constitution, the people now directly elect their United States Senators. This was accomplished by the 17th Amendment in 1913. Women (19th Amendment–1920) and African Americans (15th Amendment–1870 and later the Voting Rights Act of 1965) can now vote. There are no longer land qualifications for office. And we could go on.
So why are so many Trump supporters chiding me and others for calling the United States a “democracy?” Could it be because Trump did not win the popular vote?
And by the way, if people are so passionate about defending the idea that we are “republic” I would challenge them to consider the moral responsibility that citizens have in such a form of government. According to the founders (and the Greeks and Romans before them), a republican citizen will regularly sacrifice his or her own self-interest for the greater good of the republic. They would vote for what benefited the nation, even if that might work against their own particular interest. Just a thought.