I was struck this morning by something I heard on Morning Edition in NPR correspondent Martin Kaste's profile of Tea Party star Keli Carender.
As Kaste explained, Carender became a heroine of the anti-government political movement by being videoed in a face off with Rep. Norm Dicks, a Washington State Democrat. The video later went viral on YouTube.
In the video, Carender holds up a $20 bill and tells Dicks:
"You come and take this $20 from me and take it as a down payment for the health care plan!"
She explained to Martin what drove her to say this.
"I tried to boil down in essence what makes me so angry about it. And it was this idea that he and other people decide what the needs are in society. They get to decide. But in order to fund those things, they have to take from some people in order to give to the other people."
Err, excuse me, Liberty Belle but wouldn't that be the essence of the republican (small "r") form of government created by the Founding Fathers? Her disagreement seems to be less with Dicks and more with the dead white men who created the republic for which Liberty Belle presumably stands.
Here's the definition of republican courtesy of MerriamWebster.com.
1 a (1) : a government having a chief of state who is not a monarch and who in modern times is usually a president (2) : a political unit (as a nation) having such a form of government b (1) : a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law (2) : a political unit (as a nation) having such a form of government c : a usually specified republican government of a political unit
The founders were fairly proud of their creation, and argued strenuously for its adoption, a fact easily supported by referencing the Federalist Papers. If nothing else, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and their illustrious contemporaries would probably despair at the failure of understanding reflected in Carender's attack on representative democracy.
In our representative democracy, some people, elected as representatives of the people, are delegated to decide what's good for the society overall. That's just how it is.
The reason the House of Representatives is subject to election every two years, an extremely short tenure, is because the Founders wanted to make it super sensitive to the desires of their constituents.
That the comprehensive health-care overhaul now appears dead is a testament to the responsiveness of the feedback loop the Founders put in place.
One would think someone who styles herself Liberty Belle, of all people, would appreciate that. But apparently she's more a libertarian belle, than anything else.
It sounds like what she would prefer would be a pure democracy with everything being decided by a vote of citizens, a plebiscite. Of course, the Founders rejected this idea as mob rule.