Madison’s Democracy, or the Fission of Nuclear Politics


Who are the people

Who sent you to this house

To represent them?


Where are the people

Sent to this house

Refusing to present themselves?


Who are the people

Who overtook this house

To re-present themselves?


Newton implies

the people are those

possessing the greatest gravitas.


Madison claims

the people are all of us,

represented by those we choose.


Darwin allows

the people are those

Best evolved for the greatest good.


Einstein empowers

the people

clustered in a critical mass.


In Madison today,

Einstein arrogates Darwin

To destroy Madison.


But Madison, once shattered

Cannot be restored.


Oppenheimer sighed,

I am become death,

The destroyer of worlds.


About this: The capital of Wisconsin is Madison, named for James Madison, principle architect of the US Constitution.

In 2010, The minority party in the Wisconsin Senate abandoned their role as representatives and hid in another state, in a calculated attempt to undermine and prevent the legislative program of the democratically elected majority. In the political theatre created by their absence, a “progressive” mob organized itself and claimed, without any legal or constitutional foundation, to represent the people, and then occupied the capital building and precincts for several days.

Reflecting on these events caused me to question the idea of ‘the people”’and how we ground our ideas of political legitimacy. 

I noted how that concept has evolved parallel to prevailing ideas in science and other disciplines that shape our world view. And I note that technology has empowered social media to leverage a minority into a critical mass. 

When that empowered minority consider themselves righteous, they are both able, and more than willing, to destroy the very idea of democracy itself.

 © Philip Knight 2018