The beating heart of democracy is not freedom. Experience
shows us that freedom is a malleable concept that can become a pawn in
a zero-sum game. A womanís freedom to choose whether to bear her child
impedes the childís freedom to live. A white manís freedom to choose his
friends, associates and customers can diminish a black manís freedom to
live and do what he wants. Increasing the total amount of productive freedom
is the mission of a democracy, but not its heart.
Its heart is trust. The theory that the best
government is government for the people, by the people relies on the belief
that Americans can be trusted to determine their own fate without recklessly
harming and exploiting others. A representative democracy, like ours,
asserts that the people will choose representatives who will govern wisely,
responsible, and selflessly---representatives who can be trusted. And
representatives who can be trusted must, by necessity, be capable of trust.
They must trust the people who elected them to be sufficiently informed,
civically responsible and wise to accept difficult decisions made for
the good of the nation as a whole, even if they represent sacrifices for
particular voters or voting blocks. They must trust their colleagues in
government to share their dedication and willingness to work for the best
interests of the nation rather than narrow self-interest. They must trust
their leaders, without whom they will devolve into an ineffective, bickering
mob. Most of all, they must trust the system of democracy that they serve.
Ted Stevens, Republican Icon
Alaska Senator Ted Stevens was just indicted, and it is pretty hard to see how heís going to avoid jail time. If this surprises you even a little, you donít know the career of Senator Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate, and a Machiavellian to the core.