Of Pendulums, Power, and the People


A system of checks and balances. This is our Republic. A government for the people, by the people.

While the musical strands of Schoolhouse Rock dance through our memories, its easy to forget that all the participants within the Republic are subject to these checks and balances, including the people by and for which the government derives it’s power. Yes, even the citizen cannot have Liberty without responsibility.

The citizenry without checks upon it’s will, or more specifically, it’s whim, face the tendency to regress toward anarchy. Not willing to inhibit the individual liberty of any free citizen but keenly aware to guard against mob rule, the Founders rejected Pure or Direct Democracy in favor of a Republic. Benjamin Franklin warned in our national infancy that we were, “ A Republic, if we can keep it.”

The “keep it” is the diligence to the responsibilities and burdens of Liberty. The maintaining of checks and balances. For it’s dual purpose, a balance and check is clearly reflected in the Electoral College.

Without the Electoral College, elections would be decided by heavily populated urban areas and rural America would be ignored. By design, this electoral system insures that all geographical areas of the Republic would be represented equally. The Founding Fathers also knew, by their careful study of history, that the cities were more susceptible to the frequent popular swings of the political pendulum.

Those who can conjure the grievance, inflame the crowds, and ride the populace swell of emotion hold the power in a Direct Democracy. This is why those in political power wish to abolish the Electoral College. Like with the gerrymandered voting system of Ranked Choice Voting, it is a thinly veiled attempt to silence the vote and voice of rural America.

-Andy Torbett


Geographical Prejudice Part One


The recent debate (I’m being kind. Tantrums is the more accurate term.) concerning the electoral college has brought into sharp clarity the desire or belief by some that only certain areas, and those that reside there, should decide the political fortunes of the rest of the Nation. It would seem if you follow this line of thinking (Again, I’m being kind), that a mere residency in certain enlightened geographical locations endows said resident with more political fortitude than those from less desirable locals, and therefore, those residents who reside in the “cool place” their votes should have more import,clout than those who reside in the “not-so-cool place”. Embracing this form of reasoning (I’m not even being kind here, I’m just throwing out nice terms in vain attempt to gloss over reality.) results in a form of governance called Pure Democracy, historically defined as Mob Rule.

To say that this columnist takes a dim view of geographical prejudice could probably be characterized as the understatement of the century…in some corners of humanity….somewhere… Still, our friends (I’m not going to help you through these “kind terms” anymore.) need to be reminded that despite all the work of politicians, media elites, educators, and actors, who live in those “cool places”, despite their efforts to convince us that we are a democracy, this election proved this time proven point. Self-absorbed, elitist, and “way cool” people are so blinded by their own arrogance that they rarely know anything of what their talking about.

Yes, elitist have been shocked to find out that despite their barrage of indoctrination attempts, the United States is still not a democracy and is still a Constitutional Republic. Our Founders chose a Constitutional Republic rather a Pure Democracy to protect us from “cool people” who live in “cool places” and think their opinion by virtue of their place of domicile should have more value than those in other geographical locations. They had seen throughout history that within a Pure Democracy instigators had merely to target high population areas where people tend to herd rather than think (IE. “How is Joe Cool voting? OK. That’s the way I’m voting.”), work up the mob to overthrow whatever perceived or real injustice, only for the people to find they had been used for a hidden agenda, and the cycle would start again. Civilizations under Pure Democracy are kept in a constant state of revolution until a dictator takes power that can rule the mob through brute strength. Remember, all dictators are voted in, yes, like Castro, Hitler, and others all shouting “Democracy”.

The Founders chose a Constitutional Republic to prevent this. By instituting the Electoral College and selecting two Senators from each State, no matter the population, the framers insured that the more rural States, whose residents tended to be less effected by populace swell, had an equal voice in the governing and electoral process. Furthermore, the Senator’s were elected by State’s legislature, leaning towards a Republic style of government, and the Representatives were elected by popular vote, a use of Pure Democracy.

Our Founding Fathers installed a Constitutional Republic with pieces of democracy to insure the fairest way that all areas of our Nation could have a equal voice. Which begs the question, why haven’t the States figured that little piece of common sense out? In the next installment, we’ll look at how Maine’s political system is entrenched with geographical prejudice and the steps we as citizens can take to make our voices heard and change this travesty which has oppressed this State for too long.