History for Dummies

And by dummies… I mean me.

It has come to my attention–as I’ve become radically obsessed with politics, history, our constitution, the way our government functions, current events, and other similarly “riveting” topics–that most of you guys don’t know much more than I did about any of this stuff. This morning, I jumped on my bi-monthly writers group to have a blog I submitted critiqued. It was entitled “America is not a democracy.” It was well sourced, it covered a ton of information, and it was pretty boring as it turns out. This is amazing feedback (although I have to say, none of the other writers explicitly said it was boring) because it helped me figure out what I want to share with you guys, why I want to share it, and how I want to share it.

So, here is what I’m thinking about the future of our journey together (this is going to require audience participation so please email or comment here and give feedback):

  1. I want to talk about relevant history with y’all because it’s so important to have a refresher (or maybe even learn some of this for the first time) so as to better understand what’s happening in our world today. This means I also want to talk to y’all about current events and cultural shifts I’m personally concerned about. I want to do this so you guys feel informed and equipped to have a conversation or cast a vote. I also want to do this because there is so much flying under the radar right now and we just can’t have that. We’ve got to be in the know, friends.
  2. I’m going to have to do this from a position of assuming whoever is reading this knows very little–thus the “History for Dummies” title. This is not because I assume you know nothing, I don’t mean to be condescending, but because if you’re anything like I was about six months ago… you might just know nothing (and that’s okay… but I want to give you the confidence of knowledge). In doing this, I might have to break topics down into bite sized sections so as to keep it simple (and keep you from falling asleep). Longer blogs will become series.
  3. I realize this might be terribly dry to read about–as my beautiful writer friends pointed out this morning–and so I’m going to start a podcast. I don’t know anything outside of that fact just yet. I actually don’t know the first thing about podcasts if I’m being honest–other than I listen to them everyday and I think they’re an incredible source of information and far more entertaining than reading in a lot of instances. I’m going to keep writing too, but I think there is a lot we can learn talking it through.
  4. I could write a blog everyday. There is so much to talk about right now. But it takes time for me to get it on paper, revise it, make sure flows and it’s understandable. But a podcast? I can just talk. I can answer questions. I can have other people share perspective. What do you guys want to talk about?
  5. Below are a few topics I want to talk about, but I’d love to hear some suggestions from you. If you’re confused about something you hear on the news, or if you’d just like a Christian perspective on something–I’m happy to do the research, break it down, and talk about it. We need to do more of that. So here are the topics that come to mind: Critical Race Theory. Black Lives Matters. The electoral college–why we have it and should we keep it? Our founding fathers–were they great or not so much? Totalitarian take overs and how we might be living in one. Vaccines, Masks, and all things Covid. You know, just some light conversation.

So, there ya have it. A plan. I love a good plan.

In the meantime, let’s do a quick history lesson, shall we? There is one quick fact I want to make sure everyone knows, because it’s the foundation of so many other things we’ll talk about moving forward.

I kind of blew the surprise with the afore mentioned title but here the fact we need to anchor into: America is not a democracy. Let’s unpack this bad boy because if you would have said that to me a year ago, I might have tried to argue that it was. Actually, I might have learned in school that it was, but let’s finally set that record straight.

A democracy is a governmental system wherein the people vote on the decisions affecting the country–most often through elected representatives.

That definition sounds close enough to what we’ve got going on here, right? Yeah, it sure does. But close only counts in golf and hand grenades. (And if we don’t appreciate how we’re very different from a democracy, a hand grenade won’t be much different to the result).

America is a constitutional republic. A constitutional republic is also a system of government in which the people vote on decisions affecting the country–again, through elected representatives. However, the difference in a constitutional republic is these representatives must govern within the confines of a constitution. A constitution is a system of laws used to protect individuals while limiting and containing the role of government (so they can’t overreach, interfere, and so on).

So, who cares, right? What’s the big deal? Glad you asked…

Although democracy sounds like a perfectly fine option, the big difference between it and a constitutional republic is a democracy is subject to majority rules—or “mob rule.” This is dangerous namely because there is no protection of the individual and no laws to limit where this form of government can go. For example, in a democracy, the people could decide they want to build a park in every neighborhood. That sounds great until they propose that everyone whose name starts with a “Z” has to “donate” their house to be the site of this new park. If enough people vote on this to constitute a majority, the issue is settled. There would be zero protection for my friend, Zara. (I totally stole this example from my kids homeschool curriculum–the good and the beautiful.)

Now, that might sound ridiculous—something that would obviously never happen. Who would abuse the system in that way? Well, let’s use a different example. Let’s say there is a global pandemic, and most people agree that the only way forward is to inject an untested and experimental biological compound into everyone’s arm. (The vaccine has been met with very mixed reviews in America–let’s just say that.)

A constitutional republic allows for majority rule with minority protection—the best of both worlds you might say.

So, yes, if the majority of people feel this “shot in the arm” is the best option for them, then whoever wants one should absolutely have one. No objection from me. That’s actually the great thing about liberty and why we’re so blessed to live in a country that protects it—you get to make the best choice for you and your family. But liberty also means that I don’t have to get the vaccine if I deem it dangerous.

That’s a constitutional republic. It’s not a democracy. Let us not forget this. We need those individual protections, y’all, because some of us are finding we’re standing in the minority according to the most popular narrative of the minute. And even if you’re in the majority today, you might not be tomorrow–and you’re going to want those same protections when the tables are turned.

So there ya go: History for dummies.

Quick book update: I submitted the edited manuscript to WestBow Press! Special thanks to Katie Shands, Jennifer Sienes, Joanne Kraft, Rickaye Harris, Kate Cunningham, and Anice Bradley for putting an editing hand on this project. I literally and literarily couldn’t have done it without you (see what I did there?)

I’ve already heard from the design team (they anticipate about two weeks before I see a cover design or interior layout) and I spoke with my new marketing strategist. I think we’ve got ourself a train in motion, folks.

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