Is America a Democracy? -Bill Poulos

A few weeks back I, Bill Poulos, sat down with my teenaged grand kids to ask them about what they learned in their civics classes in high school — answer: not much. I asked them if they understood the difference between and democracy and a republic — answer: no. The eldest grand child is voting for the first time this year and much to her credit, she knows that she cannot trust the mainstream media on anything regarding the upcoming election. So, she seeks out credentialled sources to learn and evaluate for whom to vote. She had already learned that socialism has been tried many times in the last century and had always failed, leading to massive misery and worse among the people. But both grand kids, were not clear on this question of a democracy versus a republic.

It only took me 15 minutes to explain this difference to them and the probable outcomes of each. Since they are American citizens, I focused on the American example to address this question.

I told them that first and foremost America is a constitutional republic and not a pure democracy. In a republic, power is held by individual citizens, laws are made within the constraints of the Constitution by the elected representatives of the people and the

Constitution protects the rights of all people from the will of the majority.

On the other hand, in a pure democracy, power is held by the population as a whole, laws are made by a voting majority with unlimited power (minorities are at the mercy of the majority) and anyone’s rights can be overruled by the will of the majority. Some have called this “the tyranny of the majority.”

I told them that the founding fathers of The United States understood these differences born out of first-hand experience as well as lessons from history. That is why all Americans remain protected with certain “unalienable rights” to this day.

I went on to tell them that unfortunately, most Americans today are oblivious to this critical difference and do not therefore understand that their freedoms are under attack ironically in the name of greater equality. This misunderstood quest for greater equality undermines America’s traditional social, family and religious values and its free market based economic system at the peril of losing our political liberty.

I summed it up, by telling them that with millions of people voting in November with little or no knowledge of this subject, unfortunately, the sustainability of those protected “unalienable rights” is in the hands of an uninformed electorate.

Benjamin Franklin allegedly said, “We have given you a Republic if you can keep it.” We are about to find out. My grand kids are now exploring what else they don’t know.

Let’s educate ourselves and vote.

-Bill Poulos
Co-Founder of Profits Run

Bill Poulos is an author, retired automotive executive (General Motors), and co-founder of Profits Run, Inc. Bill offers insight into the economy and trading.