For the last week or so, I have been arguing with other members involved in the Occupy movement regarding a fundamental assumption. They believe that the apathy, short attention spans, and desire for immediate gratification that describe a vast number of Americans are obstacles to the realization of any change in our political system and must be addressed before any other action is taken. In this view, the American people need to be awakened and educated regarding the issues before change can occur. As a developmental educator, a political scientist who specializes in political change movements, and recovering alcoholic, I know from my experience, education, training, and observation that assumption is faulty.
" As Benjamin Franklin was exiting after writing the U.S. constitution, a woman asked him "Well, Doctor, what have we got—a republic or a monarchy?". He replied "A republic—if you can keep it."
The Founding Fathers were very critical of democracy, especially direct democracy, they saw a danger in majorities forcing their will on minorities, and a constitutional republic was formed. James Madison goes into detail about this in the Federalist Papers, specifically Federalist 10.