A popular vote isn't automatically a sensible one. What if the people, or their elected representatives, vote to spend more money than they can ever raise? What if, well, they vote to take over the health care industry? When that happens, we get where we are now, saddled with an economically unsustainable model for health care. We pine for a "god from the machine," as in the days of the great Greek playwrights, to come down and save us. But that doesn't happen. This brings us back to democratic theory.
An election looms. The authors of the bad joke known as Obamacare are asking demos -- us -- to confirm their handiwork by returning them to office. Democratic theory permits us to clap the guys on the back, crowning them with laurel wreaths and oodles of votes. On the other hand, democratic theory affords the opportunity -- the only meaningful opportunity, in fact -- of saying, getouddahere, you bums, and don't let the door interfere with your seat pants.
If these options sound extreme, they nevertheless frame the question in its essence: Do we the people of the United States want Obamacare, or don't we? A majority thought so at one time or anyway defaulted in the obligation to examine the pig-in-the-poke that was on offer from the Democrats and especially, the president who promised to remake our country. Do we like what we bought? The polls say most of us don't. We know what that should mean: The great power of democracy awakens to the responsibility it shunned once -- and now finds itself unable to evade.