You couldn't use the phrase today, but back a couple hundred years or so, people of learning and property feared what they called "the mob."
The mob was "we the people" at our worst, rampaging through the streets, burning the property of honest people, killing soldiers and what passed for police in those days, storming the king's palace. The mob could be blown by any wind, stirred to violence by any rumor, inflamed by blind prejudice, made love to by any orator who would pimp its lowest prejudices.
The mob is childish, but not at all cute. We do not call it a "lynch gathering," after all.
There are other reasons why the Electoral College exists in the United States, but one of the reasons it exists is as a buffer between the will of the public and the two highest offices in the land.
The Founding Fathers, wily compromisers all, feared royalty, religion and the mob.
Royalty they feared because it took the property of honest men. Religion they feared because people in Europe had been butchering each other for centuries over religion. The mob they feared because, while they didn't think people were stupid, they thought people did stupid things when they were frightened or excited or mad.
That they created the Electoral College proves their brilliance because only brilliant minds could identify and move subtly against such an ugly fact. The mob killed the czar and the king of France. Napoleon and Stalin restored order brutally. Riots in the streets birthed the Nixon presidency.
The mob, which is only normal people angry beyond reason, can burn and kill, can tear down and trample. It cannot rebuild or organize trash collection or make neighborhoods safe. After the mob goes its howling, torch-lit way; some strong man comes along, someone not afraid to use the whip. There follows a generation or two of repression, and a great deal of death. The trains run on time, but your husband is taken to a labor camp and starves to death.
Now, when the socialists are afraid they won't get Bernie Sanders and the fascists are afraid they won't get Donald Trump, we hear cries about how "stupid" and "unfair" the system is, something I've also heard at Little League games in regards to the umpire. The umpire is at the game to serve as a buffer between the mob in the stands and the final score. Without the umpire, you might as well declare a winner based on which team's fans make the most noise.
"Kill the umpire," used to be the stereotypical cry of the disappointed baseball fan. You can indeed kill the umpire, but it doesn't lead to a better game.
God bless the Founding Fathers. They didn't trust us at all.
To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. Dion's latest book, "King of the World on $14 an Hour," is a collection of his best 2014 columns and is available for Nook and Kindle.