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America as Argument: We the People Deserve Democracy

America isn’t just a nation; it is an argument.

The American Argument starts with the axiom, “All men are created equal.”

The argument proceeds through centuries of realizing that “men” really includes men and women of all colors and cash flows, every sentient being willing to participate in the discussion.

This great rhetorical exploration leads to the conclusion that the Founders’ Republic was too timid, that we deserve a democracy, and that the fullest expression of America’s founding axiom includes robust initiative and referendum, the right of citizens of equal dignity to write and vote on the laws under which they live.

That’s what I talked about at Saturday’s Green Aberdeen Chautauqua:

The American Argument says that we are all at least as capable of making laws as any legislator in Pierre. The American Argument thus demands initiative and referendum… not to mention your support for the People Power Petition.

Get the American Argument right: support initiative and referendum! Sign and circulate the People Power Petition!


  1. Porter Lansing 2019-09-25 09:57

    Near the conclusion of your powerful presentation, your daughter crossed my mind, Cory. Hopefully she got to see or hear Greta and Dad speak this week. That’s America, folks. She’s America, folks.
    *As an aside … That wind must make you fine people anxious. I sure don’t miss it. I remember it and I hated it!

  2. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-09-25 12:36

    Thanks, Porter! My daughter is busy composing poems for the planets; she may get around to watching this week’s oratory. ;-)

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-09-25 12:38

    Exempt teachers from taxes? That’s an interesting proposal… and it would certainly boost pay immediately. But is it a net public budget advantage? Won’t we give up as much public revenue in tax breaks as we would spend in raising salaries by the same amount?

  4. Debbo 2019-09-25 22:29

    Preach it, Brother Cory! Amen!

    (Wow. So windy. I don’t miss that either.)

    The Argument:

    I understood that part of the reason for the extent of the representation was vast distances and very slow communications. If anything, the distances are vaster now, but communication is instant, so that part of the argument against democracy is moot.

    Some will argue that population numbers are too high and that people will make dumb decisions because they don’t have access to or education for good decisions.

    Um. Have those doubters looked at what’s come out of DC and various state houses lately? Or ever? The brightest bulbs aren’t necessarily sitting in the lege or Congress.

    No need for an Electoral College. Certainly the various representatives on all levels ought to remain directly elected. Of course gerrymandering subverts democracy. That’s precisely why it’s done!

    Some say that too many laws are referred or initiated and the ballot gets too cluttered.

    Um, again. How many bills do the einsteins in DC and the state houses vote on in a few months? And how many do they actually READ? Even better, do they UNDERSTAND it, or just nod as the Big Business lobbyist tells them how they should vote on it?

    I’m totally there on I and R, no gerrymandering, no EC and keeping our democracy as direct as possible. Ditch the whole “republic” thing. It doesn’t help or work any longer.

  5. grudznick 2019-09-25 22:53

    Tax teachers an extra half-penny at the cash registers, since the rest of us are being taxed an extra half-penny that goes JUST to the teachers. And tax the fat-cat administrators a full penny more, and maybe refuse their business. Just sayin…

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-09-28 13:19

    Ah, sweet Saturday, when I can catch up with thoughtful comments… :-D

    Debbo, I think I’m ready to be done with the Electoral College. It is an artifact of the Founders’ suspicion of democracy. If we start from “All men are created equal,” we cannot reach a system that renders my vote for President less valuable than a Minnesotan’s vote for President, or a vote from any battleground state. The fact that I happen to live in a state that is likely to go for the Republican nominee should render it pointless for a Democratic or independent candidate to come seek my vote. And if the culture changed and South Dakota became a battle ground state, there’s no reason that my Presidential vote should have twice or more weight than that of a Californian, Texan, New Yorker, or Californian.

    Enhanced modern communication does make direct democracy more feasible. That’s another reason we don’t need the delays the SD Legislature has built into the process. Circulate petitions until four months before the election, then post the information online, get the press to do its job, and we can provide voters with more opportunity to study the issues and cast an informed vote on the three or four ballot measures we offer them on average each election than legislators get to study any of the 500–600 bills that race by them each Session.

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