Take elections, for example. I'm an American citizen, and I vote when election years come. I've written about politics, how much I trust governments, and citizenship, before:
- " 'I Take No Interest in Politics' isn't an Option"
(March 29, 2010)
- "Dred Scott, the Slavery Compromise, and Who to Trust"
(February 2, 2009)
- "Elections and Citizenship, Catholic Style"
(September 24, 2008)
The point is that one of my kinsmen, quite a long while ago, got some of the lads together and hacked his way into Cawdor castle. That was how folks handled regrettable rulers in the 'good old days.' Before elections, term limits, and all the legal and social machinery that goes with running a constitution-based federal republic with strong democratic traditions.1
On the whole, I think that the sort of elections America has - weird commercials, hanging chads, lawsuits, and all - do less damage, on average, than the old-fashioned methods.
There's something to that. For almost two millennia, the Catholic Church has been explaining just what's involved in 'love God, love your neighbor.' (Matthew 22:36-40) People being the way we are, rules help.
There are rules about what those in authority, and those under the authority of others, should do.
There are even rules about what to do when those in authority don't follow the rules. Interestingly, we are allowed to mount "armed resistance to oppression." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2243) That set of criteria are about the same as the "just war" definition, a little further on. (Catechism, 2309)
Please note: In my considered opinion, election silliness notwithstanding, the United States is not even close to requiring military intervention.
Other countries, not so much. In my opinion.
Which is what I wrote about earlier today:
- "Citizenship, being Catholic, and the Rules of Polite Society"
(March 22, 2011, 2:22 p.m. Central, 19:25 UTC)
- "My Take on Libya, War, and Getting a Grip; Mostly Links"
(March 22, 2011 5:49 p.m. Central, 22:49 UTC)
(March 22, 2011 6:02 p.m. Central, 23:02 UTC)
- "'Jesus was a Pacifist/American/Vagrant'?!"
(March 22, 2011 6:36 p.m. Central, 23:36 UTC)
- "Assumptions, Making Sense, and Politics "
(March 22, 2011 6:45 p.m. Central, 23:45 UTC)
- " 'Just War:' Unpleasant, but Not a Contradiction in Terms "
(March 22, 2011 6:49 p.m. Central, 23:49 UTC)
1 see "United States," World Factbook, CIA (last updated March 16, 2011)