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Democracy FAQ

Democracy FAQ
 

Updated: 2021-05-05 by

 

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About Democracy By Zip Code

About DemocracyByZipCode (.com)

January 20, 20210.

This website was started four years ago, on the day Donald Trump took office.

I recognized him as a threat to democracy from the moment i heard him speak. I launched this site to fight his attack on democracy. 

Four years later I am in tears and proud say "Democracy Won!!!"

I'm proud to be an American today to see that democracy has prevailed, and we can consign the name and lies of the 45 POTUS to the dustbin of history. The lastest polls show that more that 2/3 of the public support the new President.

It is time to move forward with the task of making this nation great, and inclusive, and fair, and just.

Moreover it's time for us to seize the opportunity to tap into the great talent that this nation has to offer, if we just get the crushing weight of economic hardship off of the hardworking consumers who go to work every day and truly make this nation great.

I hope you can use this site to make your elected officials accountable to you and the issues you care about. 

Use this site to:

Vote!

To start, for heaven sake, make sure your voter registration is up to date.

Contact Your Elected Officials

Our goal is to make it as easy as possible to reach elected officials in your city, county and state, and in the federal government. We've gone to the trouble of linking directly to the agenda's of your county's government, in the largest counties and cities in the US.

Track What They Do

Another goal of this site is to be a web portal to groups that track legislation that you may be interested in. This site does not wish to replace the great work that other organizations have done to keep government accountable and accessible. Indeed this site is dedicated to making those websites even more accessible and well known.

Resist and defeat anti-democratic forces like gerrymandering and voter suppression

This site is also dedicated to breaking down the institutions and forces that rob us of our right to vote. Things like gerrymandering and voter suppression should be offensive to anyone who believes in the fundamental wisdom of democracy, and rule by the people, not just the powerful, entrenched interests.

.... this is a work in progress, a labor of love, for democracy

Finally, this site is very much a work in progress. We are gradually filling in data for the largest cites and counties in the country and are working to expand our body of detailed county and city information as the months go by. 

Also, this site is dedicated to reform efforts that aim to increase and expand the voice of the common people, such as abolishing gerrymandering and resisting efforts to suppress voter turnout. 

And yes, you can get here by typing DemocracyByZipcode.com into your browser, (but Google will penalize me if make that a live link!) -- it's easy to remember, so tell your friends!

And..

Dont forget to check your voter registration!


 

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What is Democracy?

Democracy is the Enlightenment idea, that the authority of government derives from "the consent of the governed" -- and NOT from any  "divine right" from "God."

Royalty had always asserted that God was source of legitimate authority.

But to the Enlightenment era founders -- to the extent they agreed there was a God -- viewed it as a God that bestowed the right of Liberty on everyone, not Authority on one

And therefore, the only legitimate form of government, is one where those "endowed with Liberty" that God gave them, give up some of that liberty to be controlled (i.e. "governed") by a government that "the governed" (the people) create and control.

Not a new idea. But a fragile one

Hence, this is how we get "civilized". Some organization is necessary to make and coordinate roads, water systems, sewers, libraries, schools, public transit, public safety.... And so we give up some liberty, pay taxes, and assessments, etc. for the convenience of collective action (e.g. making a town water system.) But we can't let power get out of control. 

We can't let those in power ignore the result of elections, for example.

The Enlightenment idea of Democracy, borrowed from the ancient Greeks, was the inspiration for the form of government we have in America today.

In a democracy, the power of the government exists and is granted power only by the consent of the people it governs. 

Democracy is a profoundly secular idea from the enlightenment that sought to separate government from "official" religions from which Kings got their absolute power -- their "divine right" to rule.

So, while there is a "Church of England", there will never be a "Church of America", for as long as we are governed by our Constitution.

And to make sure of that, the framers added the establishment clause to the first amendment of the constitution.

We can thank the wisdom of the framers for that.

The Constitution: The Blueprint for Our Democracy

The Constitution is the document that establishes and defines the extent of government power, and establishes the framework of how it operates:

  • (via elected legislators (legislatures, assemblies,town boards) who create codes and laws and statutes, 
  • courts (that make sure the law is followed and rule on ambiguous laws, and create case law ), and 
  • via  elected executives (governor, president, mayor, etc, who is charged with carrying out the laws of the jurisdiction (i.e. "executing"  the laws and policies that have been created by the legislature, and create agencies that make regulations

But, the power of our government ultimately begins and ends at the ballot box.

That is Democracy: 

Without voting, there is no democracy.

Voting is under attack today...

There are those who would like to suppress your right to vote so they can remain in power.

This site is dedicated to fighting anti-democratic forces that are threatening the enlightenment ideal that this nation was founded on. 

Democracy is too important an idea to just let it be stolen from us by powerful forces who find oversight of them inconvenient.

This site is dedicated to keeping America free, and government transparent, accountable, and free of corruption.

And that can only happen if we end gerrymandering and stop voter suppression.

PRESERVE and EXERCISE your right to VOTE, and have your vote counted!!!

That starts with confirming that your voter registration is current, up to date, and accurate, so that your vote will be counted in 2020.


 

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What is representative government?

Representantive government is the form of democracy, that as an altertative to "direct democracy" where everyone votes on everything, instead, the people vote for "representatives" (senators, representatives, assembly members) and an "executive" (mayor, governor, predsident, to join together in a legislative body to run the affairs of governement. And on some cases voters also elect or confirm the appointment of judges.

The house of "Representatives" and "Senators" are the people's representatives, who utimately vote on making laws, etc. 

True "direct democracy" only works in very small groups. Most democracies are "representative democracies".

Even so, many states have an "initaitive" process by which certain issues CAN be brought to voters for a direct, democractic vote, bypassing the normal channels of representative government. 

In some states like California, very major laws have been enacted by the initative process.

And many states have legalized marijuana via the initiative process, rather than through representative government. 

 


 

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Who makes laws and regulations?

Legislators make laws. State and federal administrative agencies (like the IRS, the FDA, OSHA, Medicare) make regulations. Regulations are details about the laws that legislators have made. 

Laws and legislation is made in legislative branch. Congress: the House and the Senate. In California things work pretty much the same way but the names of the legislative bodies might be different. For example, the house of representatives might be called an assembly in certain states. In some states the legislative branch only meets a few months a year. The job of the legislative branch is to create laws to deal with the problems of government.

Once laws are passed, then it is up to administrative agencies to carry them out. These agencies are charged with writing "regulations". The IRS is one such agency. It makes tax regulations that go into detail about how the tax laws should be applied in specific situations. By definition regulations generally are more voluminous than the laws themselves. Because they go into more detail and cover more different specific situations. 

When agencies are adopting regulations they often have hearings and have public comment about the regulations they are proposing. For example the FTC, the federal trade commission may propose trade regulations and have a period of public comment to discuss them.

The food and drug administration may propose policies about drug prices and have hearings about that. You can get a full list of government agencies at LegalConsumer.com here.


 

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Laws and regulations: What's the difference?

Coming soon!


 

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What is a city council? A county commission? A board of supervisors? And why should I care?

Coming soon!