The soul of American democracy is at stake

The term Demokratia (democracy), meaning “the people hold power,” has its origins in ancient Greece. Embedded in our system of American government is a belief in representative democracy, the principle of electing officials to represent the people thus giving us a voice. This is achieved through a fundamental principle of our system of government — the elections process. As Jefferson observed, it reflects the “free expression of the people,” that the will of the people and majority rule is vital to the future of our nation. The sanctity of this process requires it to be inclusive, providing equitable opportunities to all eligible citizens to participate.

Equally important, it must be transparent. The freedom to vote is one of our most essential political rights. It has been extended by the 14th,15th, 19th and 26th amendments, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. The 10th amendment to the Constitution states that powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

States are responsible for running elections and have the power to regulate the elections process, including registration procedures, access to ballots, absentee voting requirements, polling places, and counting and certifying votes. While Congress does not have constitutional authority to legislate state and local elections, it has constitutional authority over congressional and presidential elections and authority to enforce practices that would discriminate against the elections process.

In his farewell address, George Washington stated that government needed to ensure “the general diffusion of knowledge” throughout the United States, that government is created to enforce the opinion of the people, so the opinion of the people should be informed and knowledgeable. He warned that political factions (parties) might seek to obstruct the execution of the laws created by the government or to prevent the branches of government from exercising the powers provided them by the Constitution. He noted these factions may claim to be trying to address and solve national issues, but their true intention is to take power from the people and place it in the hands of unjust men leading to revenge on their political opponents and resulting in despotism.

Unquestionably, our nation is at a crossroads today with the soul of American democracy at stake.

Anthony Johnson

Retired BHS government teacher

Baker City

Biden/Harris ticket is a chance to unify America

We’ve now had the chance to hear and see a diverse group of Democrats during their national convention. I trust that many of us have come to see presidential candidate Joe Biden as a truly decent human being who can unify us and lead us from the depths of our current national disasters.

I also hope that my fellow readers have some feel for the positive direction of the thoughtful Democratic agenda that we need to move decisively forward. I urge everyone to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as soon as we receive our ballots.

Conversely, I also urge those who remain uncertain to ponder all the reasons we cannot afford another four years of Donald John Trump.

The difference between Biden/Harris and Trump is dramatic. Just look at a few of the most recent, atrocious actions of this deeply un-American president:

• Stonewalling on desperately needed COVID economic relief

• Attacks on the U.S. Postal Service and on our voting by mail

• Cutting off Social Security and Medicare revenue payments

• Slashing limits on methane, a powerful greenhouse gas

• Promoting racist, “birther” and “deep state” QAnon conspiracy theories

And this does not include the longstanding consequences of the trillions in tax cuts for billionaires, the denial of global warming, and the initial and ongoing denial of the COVID virus.

That Trump is an unapologetic, hardened sociopath has been well-documented by his niece, psychologist Mary Trump, and many others. His reckless, total disregard for our welfare should be carefully evaluated by every U.S. citizen. He doesn’t care about us. He may point to the stock market as evidence that the economy is “great,” but that means little to most Americans who are caught in long-term poverty.

No matter what is said during the Republican convention, Trump will raise not one finger to deal with glaring wealth inequality, widespread poverty, a raging COVID pandemic, a crumbling healthcare system, and global warming that is intensifying Gulf storms and California fires.

What will be left of our nation if an unrepentant, psychologically damaged Trump is re-elected?

Marshall McComb

Baker City

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