September 16, 2010: now that we're in the thicket
of the political season, it's high time we clarify
certain terms, to wit, democracy and meritocracy.
I strongly suggest the USA as a whole is neither:
(1) A Democracy is NOT what Benjamin Franklin
called the new nation on September 17, 1787,
The date our Constitution was signed.
In answer to a woman's query, "What sort of
government have you given us, Mr. Franklin?",
he replied, "A Republic, Madam, if you can keep it."
Actually, it's a representative, democratic republic,
even with subsequent constitutional amendments
and other liberalizing federal statutes which
also followed. All of the candidates, incumbents
and pundits invoking the word democracy should
recall a little thing known as the Electoral College.
In the words of the Pledge of Allegiance:"...and to
the REPUBLIC for which it stands,..."
(2) A Meritocracy can't possibly be what we've got
here, EITHER, with all the incompetence, mismanagement,
misstatement, lack of information, communication and
procedure ad infinitum. What about the well-known cliche'
"It's not what you know, but who"? There's real-world
reason nepotism and cronyism are included in American
English dictionaries. We DO indeed have very able and
knowledgeable people in government, industry and education
--but are they the major percentage? That seems more and
more untrue with each succeeding newscast and political ad.
One fine day in the far-off future our nation may
be able to accurately claim its status as a
democratic meritocracy; I fervently hope so.
Better still if all the other 199 countries
are justly described that way as well.