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Focus on making our democracy better

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Robert Starks’ letter in the June10 Valley Journal issue repeated the common right-wing shibboleth to the effect that our country is not a democracy but a republic. As the rest of their catch phrases, this is utterly without substance and easy to refute.

First, ask yourself what the word republic means. You, of course, can’t come up with a clear notion of what it means for the simple reason that today it doesn’t have a clear meaning. To the founding fathers however it did have a very precise meaning. Words change. If you will read James Madison’s contribution on the subject found in No. 39 of the Federalist papers, Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man, and many other sources you will find that to them it meant a representative democracy.

One should also ask why these people would harp on this seemingly pointless phrase. Could it be that what they really mean is that they don’t want democracy?

Our democracy is indeed flawed, but the effort should be in making it better rather than destroying it.

Harold Young
St. Ignatius

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