Detroit – democracy or republic?

Yesterday,  I was getting some physical therapy done on my neck.  Yes it was from golfing, I believe, and yes I understand I am getting older.  As I was laying on the table getting my heat treatment the radio station was talking about Detroit’s emergency financial manager.  If you haven’t heard about it, good, most of us have enough negative things to deal with already.  What’s going on is the govener of the State of Michigan, Rick Snyder, has declared an emergency manager to come in and try to save Detroit City from going bankrupt.  They have hired, Kevyn Orr, attorney and turnaround specialist that helped save Chrysler.  One of the reasons this is attracting so much attention is because it is the biggest city to come under state oversight.  Detroit also has the potential to become the largest bankruptcy ever filed!  What caught my attention was the comments that citizens of Detroit and outsiders were making about the situation.


Before I state my comments on this, understand I do not claim to know the law, what is constitutional, to know all the specifics, but I do know how to build a successful business and I understand human nature.  Those are the two angles that I am coming from as I comment.

The first thing they were discussing was how outraged everyone is that someone was doing this.  Now,  the man is there to save the city not hurt the city.  He is also doing the job that the elected officials are obviously incapable of doing.  Detroit has been on a steady decline and is on the verge of going totally bankrupt!  The definition of insanity is to continue doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  A guaranteed way to fail is to NOT allow new ideas or new perspectives on problems.  There are to many people that are only worried about their reputation and not about getting results.  It shocks me how many politicians are voted into office that have never run a successful company.  Here is the difference.  A business owner knows he must make correct decisions and if incorrect he must adjust quickly.  He also must spend the money wisely because he has a limited amount and his success is on the line.  A politician that doesn’t have business experience is in a dangerous position.  He or she is spending money that they did nothing to earn and they really will not be held responsible for what happens.  This is called a third party purchase or OPM, other peoples money.  If you were just given some money and there were no consequences to what you did with it, you would spend on what you want, right?  If you knew that your job was depended on the people that voted you in, you would naturally cater to them even if it’s not the right decision long term.

The second thing that caught my attention was a caller that said,”This is undemocratic” “We are a democracy and we should all have a say in this situation.”  I about fell of the table when I heard that.  I think I started talking back to the radio.  Obviously, they couldn’t hear me but the other patients laying on tables probably thought I was nuts 🙂  We are not a democracy and we don’t want to be one.  Do we want to have a voice, yes, but we do not want a democratic voice.  Wikipedia defines democracy as,”Every one in the population has an equal voice.”  Let me give you an example to bring this home.  When you are trying to determine where to invest your money do you take a democratic poll from your family?  Little five year old Johnny,”Where do you think we should invest our money?” “What about you uncle Bob?” You have been bankrupt twice.  Let me give you another one.  What if the neighborhood took a vote on what houses they were going to tear down to help the neighborhood look better.  They voted and yours was the one they decided to knock down.  Democracy doesn’t sound so good now.  We say that is absurd!  It is just as absurd to have the population have an EQUAL voice in matters they have no clue what they are talking about.  If the citizens of Detroit think they can fix the problem they are delusional.  Most people can’t even manage their own house but now they want to have an equal voice in running a major city.  We always use democracy when we aren’t getting what WE want.  What we really need is the ability to put people in positions that they have knowledge on what to do and also have the ability to remove them if they aren’t doing the job.

What we ultimately want is a working republic.  We want the ability to vote people in that know what they are doing.  Not someone that has a great smile and lots of money to run ads.  We also need an easy way to get them out if they are not performing.  My mentor Orrin Woodward co-authored a new book with Oliver DeMille called “LeaderShift.”  They give a detailed plan on how to do what I am  talking about.  There is a story that shortly after our country was officially formed, Benjamin Franklin emerged from a building and a lady asked,”What kind of government do we have, a democracy?”  Franklin answered with,” A Republic, if you can keep it.”  What he meant was if we ever get to the point that the citizens are uneducated and revert to mob rule (democracy).  It will be over.  Buy “LeaderShift” and you will be amazed at the solution.

Bill Lewis


52 thoughts on “Detroit – democracy or republic?”

  1. Awesome article! I wish that more city officials “knew” ( have business success) what they were doing when it comes to running a city. Our country would be in a lot better shape if all city officials were to listen and apply the principals taught in the LIFE business.

  2. What a great article. Bill Lewis lays out some major principles of government and personal responsibility. I love the Ben Franklin quote, saying that a democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote. Also, I believe it was Ben Franklin who who is credited to saying the quote of, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

  3. This is a SUPER post Bill. It is called common sense . But since we don’t encourage that in our schools , we as parents need to inform our kids. Thanks Bill for sharing success thinking on this topic and so many others as well. I know your thinking works for you have helped me greatly. Thanks Chris

  4. Love it Bill!!!! Great thought process and even better understanding of what our government is supposed to be!!!!! Proud to be part of your organization!!!!! Keep leading!! BBNQ!!!

  5. I agree with you %100 Bill. I think your response was very sound and completely logical because seriously..ain’t nobody got time for that. Hehe!

  6. Great post Bill,awesome insight on what the general populations knee jerk reaction is. Can’t wait to get “Leadershift”.

  7. Well said, Bill. The difference between a Republic and a Democracy is something I really never understood until I got around LIFE and this information. Just reading a little bit of real history, not the revised history we’ve been fed, reveals the republic foundation and the beauty of the system the founding fathers invented to keep it that way. They created a system that purposely was slow to get things done, pitting the people against the elite to control democracy. The system has been changed drastically, as we learned by reading the book 1913, and we are now seeing the “fruits” of those changes. The fruit is rotten and it’s attracting flies.
    I’m sure some of the leaders in Detroit have been trying hard, but they inherited a nightmare, and the governmental system to correct the situation is not working. I’m glad they are trying something else. It would be great to see that city thrive again. I hope they can get out of their own way.

  8. O man! Bill, these are my thoughts daily. Great Post it’s time to get up and do something. Lets start with “Leadershift”


  9. Bill, I cannot wait to read this book, and promote the solutions in it until I’m blue in the face. I’m 22. My generation is holding a bag full of poison and we need solutions. Things we can really apply. I wouldn’t give a bag of poison to my kids, and I know there are bold men and women of every generation in this nation that feel the same.

  10. I think our Kansas state and US federal budgets should be tapped into to help the irresponsible management of Detroit. Pain is one great elixer for figuring out “I Need To Change”. Real good parents taught that when we were in our formative years. It sounds like Detroit hired folks that skipped those years. Now it’s painful.
    Mabe we didn’t spend enough on children and schools.
    Ok. Mabe I’m ranting. Send your city and state leaders the “Mental Fitness Challenge” and the “Finance Pack” from LIFE. 🙂

  11. This is an OUTSTANDING article that uses laymans terms to describe the dilemma that our nation faces today. It is truly amazing how common sense isn’t so common anymore. Thanks Bill for your insight and explanation of how to accomplish change and solve problems with REAL SOLUTIONS

  12. Great post Bill. The situation in Detroit is just plain sad but you are correct in saying that more of the same will not work. I applaud the governor for taking this drastic step. For the good of this state, Detroit needs to be a viable city again, not a country-wide joke.

  13. Great example about the democracy. A businessman like Snyder I think knows what to do when it comes to business. He has results. The reaction from some citizens in and around Detroit show the me mentality society we live in today unfortunately. We can change that though.
    Thanks for the post Bill.

    Brian Sommers

  14. Awesome sentiments, Mr. Lewis. I’m so glad that there are people out there who are working diligently to make a difference in our society, and change/correct the path that America is currently on! Thank you for your example!

    ~Kevin Schaibley

  15. Bill Lewis, successful businessman is right on in this blog article. I can’t wait for Orrin Woodward’s book to come out later this month.

  16. Wow, great read Bill, it’s sad to think that all Detroit needs is to find the people with the fruit on the tree to lead the way.

  17. Hey Bill,
    Excellent points. We don’t want a democracy, however a republic would also exclude having an “emergency manager” appointed to “fix” the economy of detroit. Someone with this amount of power should most definitely be more directly accountable to the voters.

    One side note that you are free to edit out of my comment if you want:
    I believe it was actually Benjamin Franklin, not
    Thomas Jefferson that said, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Not that who said it changes anything about the validity, but that’s my Melancholy coming out. 🙂

      1. Either way it is an excellent article and very timely for what our nation needs. Keep up the good work. What you and the TEAM are doing is exactly what will fix what is wrong with our nation.

  18. It is sad that a city had to reach the point of bankruptcy befor doing something about it. It is great that someone was willing to step up and try! I can’t wait to read Orrin’s new book to get the answers the county needs so badly! Thanks for sharing Bill

  19. Seriously…use spell check and grammar check. I love your elucidation on things you can’t comprehend. Completely turns me off to the LIFE biz, when the mouthpieces are unable to even post something with correct English grammar and syntax. Even worse when meeting them in person – yes, including you, Bill. Sad state. Enjoy your monopoly of minimized minds while you have it. It will be short-lived, so diversify your portfolio, my friend.

    1. Sorry our grammar isn’t up to par for you. Should be very easy for you to stop reading it then. I love how you have a christian quote at the top of your page.

  20. Great article Bill! You hit the nail on the head! I’m glad there is someone in Detroit that hopefully can turn the tide…just like we are in helping people with a self directed education! Lead on brother!

  21. As a society we have been trained to mismanage money and be “ok” with it. It’s sad but very true. I do not consider myself a financial guru, but at least I’m smart enough to know that I don’t have the answers. It makes since to let someone who does have the “know-how” put a plan together to fix it. If his plan fails then we should as well hold him/her accountable. You wouldn’t ask your dentist for advice on how to fix your car would you? Then don’t take financial advice from someone “more broke” than you.
    Right on Bill.

  22. Thanks for educating us on the difference between a Democracy and Republic. Please continue to write educational blogs like this one. God bless.

  23. Thanks for the simplified explanation of the difference between a democracy and a republic. Most people would prefer a democracy because that would continue to feed the “ME” gene that we all have instead of a republic which is designed for “OUR”. I do not know the Mi. constitution (or live there) so I will not comment on this particular situation but I know doing nothing does not fix problems, it takes individuals of courage to make a difference. It is easy to sit back and condemn, it takes courage to stand up and do something.

  24. Great post Bill. It is amazing how little knowledge our society has regarding critical issues like this. I get tired of hearing the “noise” from uninformed people, including so-called leaders. Thanks for sharing some clarity in the midst of the confusion.

  25. Thank you Bill for explaining the difference between a Republic and a Democracy, as well as pointing out again that this Country IS NOT a Democracy we are a Republic! I agree people should not be making decisions when they do not have the proper education, especially if they do not have to take responsibility or pay the consequences for such decisions. God Bless you and all the founders of LIFE.

  26. Great blog Bill yeah there are a lot of problems and a lot of misunderstandings on the political side but just as concerning is when I hear economic fallacies tossed around like their truth and the average person having no clue that there blatantly false

  27. Excellent post, Bill! I got a chuckle out of the idiot above in the comments who didnt even have anything to say about the actual content of the article.. just about the grammar! Leadership doesnt hinge on syntax and spelling, but on the scope of ones thinking, and you are a great thinker.

    I could not agree more with your examples. I wish more people understood the difference between a democracy and a republic..

    I am looking forward to reading LeaderShift, and learning about the possible solutions!!

  28. Great post and one that should be shared around the country. I hope you sent it to the Detroit newspapers!

  29. The city of Detroit is in a situation that needs correction because, as was mentioned this past saturday, some people do not know how to behave when they receive power … And in accordance with Sturgeon Law there is a top 10% in every profession … Which means that there is a 10% in the profession of business owners … Ty

  30. I really enjoyed the thinking behind your post Bill! Your thinking is great and that’s why you are leading us toward a LeaderShift! Thanks again!

  31. Mr. Lewis, as always you have another article that has HELPFUL information and truth about the state of affairs in our cities and it also applies to our country.
    Isn’t it amazing that the people that post their names seek the truth and cowards that use only one letter to hide who they are, attempt to spread discontent about things that do not matter, in the face of information and viewpoints designed to help.
    That is the reason I fight for our freedom on the side of you and Orrin.
    Semper Fidelis!

  32. Bill
    You once again have wrote a great blog. I enjoy them all. I can not wait to get my copy of leadershift..and to see how we can change the country.
    Thank you
    Nicole Allen

  33. Thanks for the post Bill!!! Cant’t wait to see you speak in columbus… I laughed at that comment with the guy correcting your grammer… Talk about a Bozo!!:-) You have been so inspiring and I love you’re last cd this business is easy… Thanks for all you do and God bless.. Keep running the race for the call God has!!!

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