Why am I more impressed with Abraham Lincoln’s “government of the people, by the people, for the people” than Al DeKruif’s insistence in a Your View published Oct. 31 that the United States cannot be described as a democracy?
Answer: Rather than playing De Kruif’s quirky definition game, I’m more concerned with undemocratic practices that demean Lincoln’s vision.
Like the following:
1. House Republicans shutting down the government in an effort to negate election results and to defund a law passed by both Houses of Congress, signed by the president, and declared constitutional by the Supreme Court;
2. Republican House Speaker John Boehner trying to extort political concessions by periodically threatening or causing political and financial crises;
3. The Republican minority in the Senate systematically using the filibuster rule to block legislation and appointments supported by the Democrat majority;
4. Gerrymandering congressional districts whereby, for example, votes for Democratic candidates in House elections in Pennsylvania in 2012 outnumbered votes for Republicans by 83,000, yet Democrats ended up with only 5 of the 18 House seats;
5. Republican proposals that claim to serve the interests of all the people by promoting and favoring the financial interests of the upper 1 percent;
6. Voter suppression techniques whereby Republican majorities in state legislatures put up barriers to citizens exercising their right to vote;
7. Voter suppression techniques whereby politicians try to get citizens so disgusted with politics and government that they don’t turn out to vote and/or don’t take time to sort out issues carefully;
8. Equating money with free speech so that the more money you have, the more free speech and political influence you have.