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A Republic, If You Can Keep It

My adventure with the American election process began much like other young people entering college.

Not certain who the candidates were, or even what they stood for, I voted with zeal but with little knowledge.

As I gained more experience, through reading newspapers and magazines, I quickly fell into the democratic herd, who spout their surface knowledge regurgitated from the morning newspaper, but understand little if any of why the system operates the way it does.

I conscientiously cast my vote election after election, hoping to maintain my freedoms by the wonderful power of the democratic election process, until a curious thought entered my mind and would not leave.

This uninvited guest, this alien idea, would not depart, no matter how much I recited the alleged benefits of democracy.

The thought was simple, but inarguable: If the key to our American freedoms is our democratic elections, if freedom is endangered when Americans neglect this right, how is it that every four years we seem to lose more of our freedoms that our vote was allegedly cast to secure, regardless of which party is elected?

No one seemed to have a satisfactory answer to that question and I quickly realized that we all had the same pat answers espoused to us during our high school indoctrinations.

Voting Doesn’t Guarantee Your Freedoms

What if democratic voting isn’t the key to securing freedoms at all?

More pointedly, if it is, why have Americans lost their freedoms at an increasing rate since we inaugurated our full-fledged democracy around the turn of the 20th century?

Many times, the worst of errors occur when the key to solving the problem is buried in the unquestioned assumptions of the ruling paradigm.

These questions and others engaged my thoughts as I pondered America’s voting paradox, leading me on to an election epiphany: that it’s not the vote that ensures a people’s freedoms, but a contract between the rulers and the ruled.

Starting with the Magna Carta, written to protect English freedoms against a money- hungry King John, all the freedoms of the English-speaking people’s have been ensured by written contracts between the governed and the governors.

Merely casting your vote, herding into schools and town halls, does not ensure anyone freedom in America. Even Adolph Hitler, that megalomaniac of power, that dictator of dictators, used the legitimate democratic election process to gain power in Germany.

The more I thought, the more suspicious I became, the constant drum roll of praise beaten into me during my high-school years on the joys of our democratic process, seemed not to square with the facts, leading me to read the Founding Fathers in their own words to learn what they thought of democracy.

Our Founders Didn’t Trust It Either

To my great surprise, if not downright horror, I learned that democracy was the least favorable form of government in the opinion of nearly all of the Founders.

Even Thomas Jefferson, one of the strongest supporters of the people, was quick to disassociate himself with democracy and stay safely under the republican banner.

If democracy isn’t working in practice — anyone alive during the last 40 years can vouch for this — and the Founding Fathers knew that it didn’t work in theory over 200 years ago, why are American’s constantly bombarded with messaging on the importance of our democratic system?

With taxes increasing yearly, government regulations increasing monthly, the money supply increasing weekly, government bureaucracy increasing daily, government power increasing hourly, our national debt increasing by the minute and our freedoms waning by the second, exactly who is benefiting from this democratic process?

If you answered politicians, political parties, Big Business, and wealth transfer recipients, you have just qualified for Double Jeopardy.

Edmund Burke wrote about England in the 18th century,

“For us to love our county, our country ought to be lovely.”

I love America and I dream of a lovely America where all races, creeds and colors can come together and unite around the idea of justice and liberty for all.

The Founding Fathers didn’t trust in a democratic election process to ensure their liberties.

Remember, many of the Founding Fathers were lawyers. Writing contracts was part of any business partnership. A partnership between the people and the government required a contract to ensure the terms.

That contract, written to protect the people from potential government encroachment upon their freedoms was called the American Constitution.

Contracts in business are essential, helping each side of the written agreement maintain his pledge of fidelity to the written terms.

But if either side becomes negligent of the contract, abuses can and will occur.

The American people have lost the understanding and intentions of the original contract, sending a clear message to government that the majority to not care to defend their freedoms and most are willing to surrender their freedoms for the security of government provisions.

It’s a fool’s game that must end in the bankruptcy of a once-great country, since, if given the choice, the majority of people will choose handouts rather than work.

How To Fix It

Only through production can any country maintain its solvency. Printing money is not production. Borrowing money is not production.

Only producing goods and services that can be sold on the free market will restore the American Dream.

Able-bodied men and women should not be paid to idly sit by while others produce. It’s debilitating in three separate but related ways: to the self esteem of the recipients, to the total production of the country, and to the attitudes of those who are forced to work for others who do not.

I don’t read a paragraph on government handouts in our written Constitution, but it’s going to take more than a few of us to read our agreement to set this straight.

It’s possible for a group of people, sick and tired of voting every two years only to lose more freedoms, rising up peacefully together, to ensure that government does not encroach upon it written responsibilities.

The majority in a democracy does not have the right to vote its hands into the pockets of any its citizens anymore than an elite has a right to use government power to coerce open the pockets of the majority.

The American Republic must be restored based upon the natural rights and natural law inherent in each person, as the Declaration of Independence has clearly stated.

Further thoughts on our American Constitution can be found in The 5,000 Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen, a must read for any hungry student of our written contract.

Ben Franklin, one of America’s greatest statesmen, was prophetic when, upon exiting the Constitutional Convention, he was asked what type of government America would be; he answered, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

We cannot keep our republic since it was been lost at the turn of the 20th century, but we do have a responsibility to restore it.


Orrin Woodward is the co-founder of Team, a leadership development and training company, and the New York Times best-selling co-author of Launching a Leadership Revolution.

Named by the International Association of Business as a Top 10 Leadership Guru, he is dedicated to building leaders and entrepreneurs and promoting freedom and prosperity.

Orrin blogs regularly at Orrin Woodward. He lives in Port St. Lucie, Florida with his wife and four children.

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  1. Sign the petition at http://www.UtahsRepublic.org to help restore the word Republic to our Utah state history standards. It’s missing in action.


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