Imagine the volume of arguments back in the Philadelphia State House. Imagine those delegates of varying background, education and beliefs. Consider the weight of their words. We sometimes forget how our country really works: we run on the power of voice.
There is never a single voice in America, of course. If you believed that a single schmuck is responsible for our governance, you’d be wrong. We rely on a massive body of elected and appointed people. . . many minds and many voices. Issues are freely debated in chambers. Some legislation moves fast in channels while other work drops dead on the floor. To complicate things, our policies are consistently argued in an all-you-can-eat media buffet: a senior legislator from Virginia locks horns with a junior legislator from Nebraska after a few tweets. The Speaker of the House throws a soundbite on CNN and gets repulsed by his opponents on NBC. The Chief Executive may have his own pulpit, but it’s bolted to the floor of a full-time press room.
Excluding cameras and high-speed bandwidth, things were likely the same in the early Greek city-states. No single initiative was free of influence from elders, merchants, generals, councilors, and advisers. Everyone had their input. This was a natural form of checks and balances. After all, the citizens of a city-state were all in the same boat. They had to deal with problems that Americans face today: disease, poverty, the improvement of infrastructure, education, the sale of goods, civil laws, and foreign threats.
We put our trust in this body of free thinkers, a multitude of voices, and push for solutions. In time, the multitude becomes a single voice with a single purpose. It was a pattern of freewill demonstrated by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. This is how we work. And it is worth fighting for, because the alternative is unthinkable.