Bill Frist said more than he bargained forIn watching Bill Frist deliver his farewell speech the other day, I found the address to be somewhat predictable, as much of what Frist said, though bad by no means and certainly commendable, are things that are often said by Senate leaders as they depart the chamber for the final time. I thought his thank-yous were gracious as usual and I do believe the address was heartfelt, just that he said a lot of things that were to be expected.
In light of my recent comments on this weblog regarding the 17th Amendment and the problems with the direct election of U.S. Senators, there was one small portion of the speech that really stuck out:
“Speaking to the Convention, Virginia’s James Madison set forth the reasons to have a Senate: “’In order to judge the form to be given to this institution, it will be proper to take a view of the ends to be served by it. These were, first, to protect the people against their rulers; secondly, to protect the people against transient impressions into which they themselves might be led.’ “Let us remember this vision of the Senate—that the Framers established the Senate to protect people from their rulers, and as a check on the House and on the passions of the electorate. And let us not allow the passions of the electorate be reflected as destructive partisanship on the floor."
Frist is right that the founders established the Senate as a check on the passions of the electorate. To believe some people who commented on my post at Kleinheider's, I am the great enemy of "democracy," as if this country was ever intended to be a democracy. Several generations of children have been sold the democracy lie-well I will tell you the truth-the United States of America was never founded to be a democracy. The founders of this country quite correctly understood that democracy is dangerous to liberty, so they placed safeguards in place, such as a Senate that was not popularly elected, to insure that we did not have democracy. We do not pledge allegiance "to the democracy for which it stands." Those of you who are fond of Yankee marching songs do not sing "The Battle Hymn of the Democracy." The Constitution of the United States does not "guarantee to every State in this union a Democratic form of Government."
There are those who are ignorant enough to say that I am playing with semantics-I am not. If the United States of America are in a democracy now, then we have strayed from the Constitution itself, our liberties are in great danger, largely because people can be easily swayed to believe what their popularly-elected leaders want them to believe. These folks will do what it takes, after all, to stay in office. Our freedoms are at the mercy of demogoguery. That's okay, though, we're a democracy-ain't it grand?
Lord, save us from our own collective short-sightedness. Bill Frist did not realize the weightiness of those few lines in his speech-but I did.
Labels: Federal politics