Are We Governed by Consent or Force?

Are We Governed by Consent or Force?

( – Many Americans are growing frustrated and weary of state government-induced lockdowns across the country. Constitutional rights are being violated under the guise of protecting the public from COVID-19. Some people feel they are under house arrest without a crime being committed. In other cases involving religious liberties, churches are being told they can’t worship together and must dissolve their meetings. Now, some states are attempting, however subtly, to prevent people from protesting the actions of their government.

During the time of the American Revolution, they would have called this behavior tyranny. Today, some may say we are a more developed society. Unfortunately, that may not be the case at all. Evolved societies should be moving away from dictatorship style government, which is precisely what some Democratic governors are offering their citizens.

The actions of some Democratic governors have undermined their authority, trustworthiness, and ability to govern once the pandemic is over.

The Declaration of Independence states that governments “derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution carries out that mandate. Unfortunately, over time this phrase has lost its meaning. What does the “consent of the governed” really mean, and why is it more important than ever?

Why Is “Consent of the Governed” Vital Today?

At the time of the American Revolution, fledgling Americans had experienced a king who was largely unchecked by parliament and, in fact, was often in collusion with them against colonists in violation of British law. For example, colonists had no representation in parliament when extreme taxes were forced on them. They had no say when British soldiers took alleged criminals away to England for trial. Families had no choice when British soldiers occupied their homes by force.

We are taught in school a fallacy that the United States is a democracy, which means majority rules. However, that’s antithetical to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The United States is not a democracy. It’s a republic. In a republic, voters vote for offices close to them (districts) that represent their needs and interests at both federal and state governments.

When the Constitution was drafted, the consent of one’s representative was taken as the equivalent to one’s consent. American colonists did not have this right under British law, and that’s why voting is critical today. Your vote is your consent.

However, that comes with a great responsibility for the citizen who votes. The framers assumed that people would vote for virtuous (meaning moral) people who would uphold their office with the Constitution, as well as the greater good of society, foremost in their mind. When the two conflict, the Constitution wins.

The Problem Today

Modern life, luxury, and even partisanship have created an environment where people don’t vote, and most politicians don’t feel threatened to listen to their constituents. As the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates, some governors appear more persuaded by their power than the greater good of all citizens.

In the 2016 presidential election, only 67% of the population that was eligible to register to vote did so, and of them, only 53% cast a ballot. In the 2018 midterm elections, only 49% of registered voters participated. In governor and state races, it’s even lower. They know where their votes are at and, therefore, they don’t feel compelled by protests when they know it doesn’t matter if people don’t vote.

All elected officials must, from time to time, feel the pressure of the electorate at the ballot box. That’s where the people get to say who governs them and who does not. That’s what giving your consent is all about and that’s why it’s imperative you be informed of the facts and cast your ballot every time there is an election. That way, the next time an elected official decides to overstep boundaries, they know there will be political consequences. It’s up to you to ensure virtuous people who care about the Constitution are elected to office.

By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor

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