To the Editor:
There is a big problem these days with the loose use of the term “democracy.” Regardless of who is using it, it is still foreign to our Constitution. We do not live in a democracy, but a republic.
After all, we say so every time we repeat the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, “and to the republic for which it stands.” What we have is a form of democracy known only to citizens of the United States.
If we had a pure democracy, we would all be equal, i.e., we would not have honor students, MVPs, all-stars, or remedial education, etc. We have a representative form of government where legal voters elect fellow citizens to represent them in the making of laws that may restrict their freedom.
President Lincoln leaves us with this fact in his 1863 Gettysburg Address that we were a “new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” The democratic aspect of new nation is that any equalities that are deemed to be unequal can be remediated by amendments to the Constitution approved by the people, such as the 13th and 14th Amendments abolishing slavery and the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.
Today, Washington, we are told on many fronts, is suffering from information overload and fighting a war of words. The victims being students of all ages. Current information is instantaneous and can be fact, fiction, or propaganda. In this vain, Educator Neil Postman, in his book on how technology has taken control over information, titled it, “Technopoly. The Surrender of Culture to Technology.” Technology is amoral and all of this translates into “reader/viewer beware.”
If this situation is defended on the basis of “free speech” we are not living in a Republic or a Democracy but Anarchy. Those who criticize unbridled use of technology are intolerant and therefore un-American.
This state of affairs might be summarized thus, “Twitter + Technopoly + Pavlov’s dog = an unholy alliance” or “as education goes, so goes Society.”
James R. Gillespie