Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Death of Democracy

So I saw a bumper sticker yesterday. It read as follows:

"Thank God for Presidential term limits."
The other stickers that were plastered across the back of the car made it pretty clear which President the driver was glad was being limited, but that doesn't matter for this discussion, so I won't bother you with it.

Term limits mean that any given person may only be President for a grand total of eight years - regardless of what the public has to say about the matter. They are yet another in a long series of un-democratic rules that are built into the American system. They were originally instituted after the death of Franklin Roosevelt, as a way of keeping a popular President from being re-elected over and over again, until he became too infirm to serve, or died in office - in other words, avoiding a de facto "President for life" situation.

And I always worry when I see people celebrating the un-democratic roadblocks that have been built into the system. Presidents in this country are elected by a somewhat bizarre system that plays (somewhat) off of the popular vote. It's possible to lose the popular vote, and still be elected President, but it's hard - the stars really have to line up properly for that to happen. So, for the most part, unless 50.00001% or more of people who bother to vote put a little check by your name, you're not getting into the office.

Once we get to the point where we've decided that the majority can't be trusted to make the "right" decision, so we have to take the choice out of their hands, we start walking down a path that leads only to tyranny. After all, Robert Mugabe thinks that he's doing the right thing for the people of Zimbabwe...

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