Goodness gracious sakes alive, does this country need a history lesson! Never in the past four years have I wanted so badly to have a class of people to teach. Teenagers or adults or senior citizens — it wouldn’t have mattered. I have seen so much appalling ignorance about our country, its history and its constitution that I have just wanted to grab the populace and shake them until they understood.
For starters, I am tired of hearing about our democracy and the popular vote. We are not a democracy, and a whole lot of people should be really glad about that, too, because in a democracy, mob rule applies. The majority is the boss of everybody, and if we had been a democracy in 1865 slavery would have never been abolished. If we had been a democracy in 1920, the women would have never gotten the vote. If we had been a democracy in 1964 and 1965, those historic pieces of civil rights legislation would never have been approved. In fact, if we had been a democracy in 1776, the Declaration of Independence would never have been adopted because the majority of the colonists were afraid to pursue independence, just like a majority of Americans opposed women’s suffrage and abolition and sweeping civil rights reform.
For the record, Abraham Lincoln did not get a majority of the popular vote in 1860, and Bill Clinton did not get a majority of the popular vote in 1992 or 1996.
“Oh, yes he did!” screamed one of my Facebook friends this week. “I know Lincoln got the most votes and so did Clinton.”
Most means plurality, y’all. A majority is 50 percent plus one. And while we are on the subject, we are not a democratic republic, either, no matter what the revisionist history books might claim. That’s just a term Andrew Jackson coined for political purposes in the 1820s and it stuck with some people. We are a republic. We have a federalist form of government where the power is supposed to be divided between the states and the central government and neither is subservient to the other. Both are supposed to get their powers directly from the people.
And by the way, the U.S. Constitution does not give any of us the right to have a say so in who becomes president of the United States. Oh, no, it doesn’t. That power is vested entirely in the Electoral College, and under the Constitution states still have the authority to decided how those electors are chosen. It wasn’t until 1842 that the last state started allowing the people to vote for those electors.
If we eliminated the Electoral College people in two-thirds of the states would be virtually disenfranchised when it came to presidential elections. All the time, money and effort would be spent wooing voters in California, New York and Florida.
Now about the transition of power. Political parties are not mentioned in the Constitution and were thought to be a dangerous thing by our founders. But parties arose almost immediately because people have always had differences of opinions about political issues. The first 12 years under the Constitution found the government in the hands of the Federalist Party. But in the election of 1800 — also called the Revolution of 1800 — Thomas Jefferson, leader of the Republican Party, was chosen to be president. When John Adams, his Federalist opponent, stepped down on inauguration day in 1801, it marked the first time in the history of the world that a group in power had relinquished power without violence or threat of violence, simply because the people said that’s what they wanted. It has worked that way ever since.
And now the people have spoken and the message is loud and clear, under the Constitution, that the people want this country to go in a new direction. And no matter how much they hated to do so, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, and President Obama did and said all the right things this week to propel us toward that smooth transition.
And yet in many of our nation’s cities, ignorant young people who have no knowledge of how this Republic is supposed to work are dying to get attention by marching in the streets and generally acting the fool — and, no, these are not the peaceful protests guaranteed by the First Amendment. You must have a grievance to protest. These are spoiled brats and attention-seekers and they should be ashamed.
And if you are interested, I have about 38 years worth of lessons stored up. Class can start as soon as everyone gets here.