Governor says we're forced to live in a democracy
By Michael M. Bates
Maybe the hairspray is seeping into his brain. Or perhaps he's taking pills to boost his testicular virility. Regardless of the reason, a few weeks ago Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich said something quite strange. Strange even for a Democrat.
It happened when he explained why he was spending up to $10 million taxpayer dollars on stem-cell research without state legislative approval. This was necessary, he claimed, because the General Assembly wouldn't take action on the issue.
Of course, a possible reason the legislature did not was because the governor failed to propose stem-cell funding in his budget. Nor did he broach the subject in his state of the state address, when the governor outlines his initiatives. He found time in that speech, though, to mention he would officially declare September "Illinois Wine Month." So we know he can prioritize.
But Rod decided he was morally obligated to do something about stem-cell research because the assembly simply wouldn't. So he's spending unauthorized funds.
In boasting of his deed, he said, "While we are forced to live in a democracy with several branches of government, sometimes in a democracy the process is frustratingly slow."
We already know that Blagojevich isn't Mensa material. He's admitted that his ACT score was nothing to rave about.
Still, talking about Americans being forced to live in a democracy makes me wonder if he didn't cheat on his ACT.
James Madison wrote that democracies "have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property."
The United States isn't a democracy, but a democratic Constitutional Republic. We vote for the people who govern. The Constitution protects individual liberties. Whatever our form of government is called, no one is forced to live in the United States. If a person finds life here so distressing, he can leave whenever he wants.
The governor was correct on one point: Sometimes the process can be very slow. Priscilla Owen and numerous other Bush judicial appointees can testify to that.
If Blagojevich is troubled by how sluggish the system is, there are a few countries where that's not a problem.
Another example of expeditious government is the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea. "Dear Leader" Kim Jong Il runs the show there with an efficiency Rod would apparently appreciate.
According to Time Magazine, Kim acts like a murderous schoolmaster. The Supreme People's Assembly meets as required to rubberstamp whatever the Dear Leader wants it to.
You can get in trouble merely for folding a newspaper so as to crease Kim's picture. Usually sporting a meticulously maintained pompadour, he once killed a barber who gave him a bad haircut.
Earlier this year, the Dear Leader approved a "Let's Trim Our Hair According to the Socialist Lifestyle" campaign. Men are expected to keep their hair length to about two inches. Longer locks rob the brain of oxygen, you understand. State-run TV began broadcasting the names and addresses of violators, who were chastised as "blind followers of bourgeois lifestyle."
Yes, Governor, there are places to which you can relocate where you won't be forced to live in anything close to a democracy. None of those exasperating branches of government either. You won't have to fret over legislative delays.
It's a disgrace that the governor of a major state talks such twaddle and no one in the mainstream media, those valiant defenders of the public interest, calls him on it.
Mike Bates is the author of Right Angles and Other Obstinate Truths. This essay originally appeared in the August 25, 2005 Oak Lawn (IL) Reporter.
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