Of all the political words that trip off our tongues yet bedevil understanding, one of the most important is “democracy.”
Strictly translated, it signifies authoritative power (kratos) by the citizenry or people (demos)—particularly the lower and middle classes—in the public affairs of a political order. Of course, this does not describe our reality.
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We Americans live in a republic, whose laws are made by public officials in whom citizens invest power and authority, legitimating their power over the citizens who are governed. …