Werner Neff

Werner Neff

RESTORE OUR DEMOCRACY

RESTORE OUR DEMOCRACY

RESTORE OUR DEMOCRACY

The Case for Equality and Justice

Prologue

The United States, Motherland of Democracy

The United States of America is the motherland of modern democracy. Through the secession from the British Crown in 1776 and the establishment of a separate state, democratic principles were implemented in the structure of the United States government.

Subsequently, the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution provided the model for the worldwide social upheavals of the 19th and 20th centuries. The Founding Fathers had analyzed the principles of the Athenian and Roman worlds, and integrated those with the milestones of governance from the Old World—such as the Magna Carta Libertate of 1215 and the Bill of Rights of 1689 in England, the ideas of John Locke, and Montesquieu's principle of separation of powers. Those philosophies were the foundation of the new nation. The main concern of the founders was to avoid tyranny.

The Constitution is still relevant and highly respected today. What is missing is the politicians’ commitment to follow the country’s basic ideals, which is to represent all Americans, rich and poor, white and colored, and healthy and sick. The country’s leadership is allowing itself to be derailed and distracted from the essential business by needless quarreling at the highest levels of government. The vast differences between the ruling parties and their commitment creates desperation and resignation amongst the people and it leaves them helpless. We are left with this: the wealthy and the big corporations are ruling this country.

The primary reason we elect political officials is to manage the country and serve its citizens. The welfare of citizens and their protection is the responsibility of a democratic government. In other words, the legislators are responsible for orchestrating economic and political development that will secure safety and wellbeing, and a basic lifestyle for all American citizens, including the needy.

The world is divided into geographical and political areas. One of them is the Western World, which consists of the United States, Canada, a big part of Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. The leader of this conglomerate has been the United States of America ever since the end of WWII. The rebuilding of Europe, the profound changes in lifestyle, the invention and manufacturing of new products and services resulted in the Pax Americana, which is the most successful period in history, the post-war boom.

The United States, the biggest partner in the Western World, leading with a strong economy, has been losing authority during the past thirty years. I believe that the two party-quarreling, the tremendous efforts spent on self-promotion for the elections, and endless blaming and shaming of leaders weakens the country and takes away power and credibility. Because we are so focused on national politics and partisan winning, we cannot see the huge impact this weakness has on world politics. We have lost recognition and trust as a world leader.

What Inspired me to Write this Book?

What was the motivation to research the current state of the Nation and our democracy?

In 1848, the Swiss people copied its republican government structure with democratic rules from the United States of America. The two-chamber legislature is serving the well-being as well as the views of pluralistic and liberal societies with federalist, republican democracies. Strong economic relations and a reciprocal understanding of values and structure lead to the title of Sister Republics. The last time this was mentioned was in 2006.

During my studies in political science and economics, I recognized my deep love and commitment for democracy. The political and economic issues this country is facing motived me to use my background and experience to do research on the American democracy and its current situation. A Swiss citizen, I have been living in the U.S. for a decade now, and I have come to love the American people and this beautiful country. I am a resident with heart and soul, and I am deeply invested in the wellbeing of this country and its people to whom this book is meant as a contribution and inspiration. It is my fondest wish that the history and the democratic principles as well as my conclusive call for action will help strengthen our democracy.

Part 1: 
Concepts—Freedom, Republic, Democracy

Freedom First

Freedom is the driving force in American thinking and acting. It began with a desire to have a say in determining taxes, demands that were consistently rejected by the King in London. The King refused to agree to the laws put forth by the colonies, making his consent to such laws conditional on the waiver of parliamentary rights by the colonists. Indirectly, the King hindered the work of the colonial parliaments, and often dissolved them to make his point. In turn, this was hindering the administration of justice and made it difficult for other colonials to immigrate.

Ultimately, there was only one way to freedom: separation from the British crown and the founding of the United States of America, based on the colonists’ understanding of freedom. The resulting establishment of the new country using the principles of republican and democratic rules was a milestone in human history.

The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, called freedom the most important quality of democracy and named three conditions that must be present for freedom: autonomy, i.e., self-legislation; originality, i.e., legislators must originate from the country in question; self-sufficiency, i.e., that legislators should come from within the country. He added that freedom must not create new foreign dependencies.

The American history proves: Living in freedom leads to the development of creative ideas and opportunities. Freedom to invent and create must be open to everyone. This new idea, this new way of thinking gives rise to an abundance of lifestyles and economic development. Everyone is invited to make use of this freedom and to create and shape their lives as they desire.

Monarchy vs. Republic

Monarchy is the world of a kingdom. The King or Queen—the monarch—ruled in the Middle Ages his or her country and its people as he wished and at her discretion. That their orders were followed across a country was only possible with the help of a structure of subordination of nobles through a system called vassalage. A fief was the central element of feudalism.

The highest level in the hierarchy, the monarch, ruled over the entire kingdom, commanded the military, ruled the administration, and had the right to collect taxes and specific economic privileges. The first level of nobles received delegated rights and privileges, with obligations such as serving in the military, providing solders, or serving in the government. The first level of nobility delegated parts of these prerogatives to the second level of nobility. The subordination went on to the next level of the hierarchy and so forth. This was a sophisticated system of delegation of power and subordination well-known in medieval Europe.

The monarchy was the living expression of a class-based hierarchy, the aristocratic world. How one's life unfolded was predetermined by an individual’s belonging to one of three classes: the priesthood/clergy, the nobility, and then all others: the people. On the basis of a person’s birth, they were assigned a place in society. Even a clever mind would struggle to change his social position.

The opposite of the monarchy is the Republic. In it, offices are given to people whose exercise of power is limited in time, and whose exercise of that power is determined according to laws that are derived from the will of the people.