(DAILY KOS) – Why have democracy? It's a straightforward question, one that any American, let alone any American politician, should be able to answer. We have democracy in this country because our most basic political principles demand that we, the people, choose those individuals who craft our laws. It's right there in the preamble to our country's founding document, the Declaration of Independence.
There's no point in getting all philosophical just for the sake of doing so, and I'll talk soon enough about what Republicans are trying to pull in Wisconsin and Michigan, but let's spend some time exploring what that venerable idea – the one about consent of the governed – really means, and why it matters.
In the overwhelming majority of large and medium-sized societies throughout history, basically everyone except the leader/monarch/chief fell into the "moron" category, and one person or a small group exercised governmental authority. Likewise, in the modern West, even the countries that were, to their credit, the most democratic at any given point in time often unfairly excluded groups such as women, racial and religious minorities, or those without property on the basis that they were, for lack of a better word, morons. For what it's worth, today America still denies those under 18 the right to vote on roughly similar grounds.
Advertisement - story continues below