Reminder to Liberals: The USA Is Not a Democracy
Semantic infiltration within the political realm is typically defined, in its various forms, as unknowingly adopting the terms used by an opponent in such a way as to undermines one's own argument.
With the help of their cronies in the mainstream media, leftists are exceptionally good at semantic infiltration. Take, for example, the words "illegal alien." The term is simple enough. When a citizen from a foreign country enters a country not of his origin, he is alien to that newly entered country because, by birth, he is not a citizen of it. When the individual has entered the new country in violation of that country's immigration laws, he can be properly termed an "illegal alien."
Throughout the late 1990s, in order to shift the emphasis away from the very real fact that Mexican nationals crossing the border into the United States were doing so illegally, the Left coined the disingenuous term "undocumented immigrants." The mainstream media, clearly understanding Nazi Germany's propaganda techniques used to influence public perception, began repeating the term "undocumented immigrant" relentlessly.
"Undocumented," in this case, infers that illegal aliens simply lack the correct documentation that affords them the same basic rights as a legal citizen of the United States. Since Americans take pride in our country having risen to greatness in large part through mass legal immigration, the term "immigrant" seemingly provides a level of equal status.
Through semantic infiltration, the Left and mainstream media paint the perception that those who have traveled into our country illegally are not at all different from those who have immigrated. The proof of the Left's effectiveness in establishing politically correct semantic infiltration is when we observe Republican politicians, right-leaning political pundits, and even Fox News adopting the term. This is despite a 2012 ruling by the Supreme Court in which it used the term "illegal alien" because of its descriptive precision.
In a very similar manner, the Left uses the word "democracy" to describe the United States' form of government. In her attempt to justify the abolition of the electoral college as a form of electing the president of the United States, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently stated that the electoral college is "democracy-altering." This would be an absolutely true statement if not for the fact that she was referring to the United States of America, which is not a democracy.
Does this basic detail hinder Ocasio-Cortez, leftists, the mainstream media, and even many on the right from repeatedly referring to the United States as a democracy? Not in the least. The reason is because of the astonishing success the Left has had using semantic infiltration to frame our form of government as a democracy rather than using the correct term, "representative republic." The term "representive" refers to the manner in which our republic functions.
Ironically, in an effort to further graft democracy into societal lexicon, the Left has begun using the Euro-inspired term "representative democracy" in its never-ending semantic infiltration assault. On November 6, 2012, Donald Trump tweeted, "The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy." He could not have been more correct. A democracy cannot have an electoral college since, by definition, a democracy is not representative.
There's a simple yet crucial reason for arguing the distinction between a republic and a democracy. By blurring the definition by which our form of government was founded, the Left attempts to float any outrageous politically correct notion to the American public under the pretense of "This will help make our democracy work the way it should."
When Benjamin Franklin was asked at the end of the Philadelphia Convention which form of government the American people were given, Franklin famously answered, "A republic, if you can keep it."
To appreciate Benjamin Franklin's response, it's important to recognize that our Founding Fathers were scholars in the highest sense. They recognized that before Rome was an empire, it was a republic — a collection of city-states that made up the whole. Individual city-states oftentimes lacked the military and economic capability to adequately defend against foreign invaders. However, by banding together, the city-states got a considerably stronger military and an economic republic that would have to be reckoned with should a foreign army attempt an invasion. By joining the collective republic, each city-state's security was significantly increased.
With this historical knowledge, our Founding Fathers wisely determined that each of their thirteen individual states were made much more secure when united together as a single republic. The Constitution, the Electoral College, and subsequent representation from each state were all based on a republic government comprised of a collection of states. Significantly, this is why the Pledge of Allegiance begins with citing an allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, which is the representation around the world of the republic of the United States of America.
The precise distinction of the United States as a representative republic rather a democracy is vital to individual freedom because it prevents "tyranny of the masses." In today's heated political environment, a representative republic form of government makes it far less likely that the 11,506,364 people in California and New York who voted for the Progressive candidate in the last presidential election can impose their political will on the 11,382,874 people in Indiana, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Montana, Arizona, West Virginia, Wyoming, Iowa, Missouri, and Idaho who did not. Since our form of government is a representative republic, the freedoms we enjoy are not dependent upon the political winds that blow in and out of the course of American history.
In 1814, John Adams wrote, "Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a Democracy yet, that did not commit suicide."
Why do democracies never last long? Because they ultimately give way to authoritarianism and dictatorship. Even as early as 1814, John Adams recognized this. In the world today, we have a preponderance of historical evidence to support his claim.
Having experienced a life of oppression under the rule of dictatorial King George III, John Adams had a forceful belief in the principles of individual liberty and how precious that liberty is. To risk its loss to a democracy style of government was unimaginable to Adams and the host of other Founding Fathers willing to risk their wealth, family, and their lives to establish the republic of the United States of America.
Maintaining our republic form of government has created economic, political, and military security within the U.S. that has made it the most prosperous nation in the history of the world.
The intentional semantic infiltration by the Left that our country is a democracy may, on its surface, seem relatively inconsequential. However, upholding the distinction that we are, indeed, a republic is foundational to a way of life that makes the United States the envy of the world.
Bob Kennedy is an author, speaker, and political activist living in the Denver, Colorado metropolitan area.