Lenard Pitts’ column, “After Democracy Dies” raises a question: When was democracy alive and well?
Did democracy start with the ratification of the Constitution, which gave voting rights only to white, educated men? Was it when slaves were considered 3/5 of a person? Was it when our country expanded into the West and seized territory from native Americans through genocide and theft.
Was democracy alive before 1920 when women finally received the right to vote? Where was democracy when US citizens of Japanese background were rounded up and interned in camps?
I believe democracy is an evolving entity, constantly growing but also facing many pressures and threats. Mr. Pitts’ claim that recent voter restriction laws will “kill democracy” is too simplistic for me. Yes, these laws are threats that might put the final nail in democracy’s “coffin.”
I think democracy has been slowly strangled by forces that restrict voting choices such as gerrymandering. Our two political parties are squeezing it with their “winner take all” grip, which pushes out independents, thus limiting voter choices. Of what value is a “vote” if the voter feels there isn’t a true choice? Oh, and let’s not forget the incredible amount of money spent by “Super PACS” controlled by very rich individuals who exert influence on available candidates.
Let’s keep democracy alive through more complete electoral reform, not restrictions.
Chuck Wheeler Handlon, Rochester