Sunday, November 20, 2016

Unity After the Vote

He say, I know you, you know me
One thing I can tell you is you got to be free
Come together, right now
Over me
--The Beatles

The motto of the United States is e pluribus unum, Latin for 'from many, one.' Established in 1776, the same year as the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the motto's context tells us that the meaning does not imply surrendering oneself under penalty of force for some kind of greater good. Rather, it means voluntary cooperation in order to advance one's life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

When people act with discretion with respect to how much cooperation they will engage in, individuals are free to disagree and not go along with the crowd as long as they do not trample the rights of others--many of which were enumerated in the Constitution.

The same idea applies to post election unity. It is sometimes said that, once the process of an election is completed, it is time for people to accept the results and come together in unity in order to move forward. Not only does this fly in the face of human nature, particularly for those on the losing side of the vote, but it also challenges the unalienable right to pursue one's interests limited only by the restrain of not forcibly invading the interests of others in the process.

In fact, one can argue that our founding ancestors made it as difficult as possible for the central government to be unified. Their designs specifying differences in how officials were chosen for various branches of the federal government (House, Senate, President, Supreme Court) exemplify the framers' intent to discourage political unity.

Unity is not a condition under which representative should expect to govern. If government seeks unity by force, then expect more rather than less divisiveness.

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