Protect our democracy

At Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln said that the great question of the Civil War was whether “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people” would endure. For subtler but no less threatening reasons, that question confronts our nation again. Blatantly partisan gerrymandering, ever more aggressive voter suppression tactics, the Citizens United decision that has our elections awash in big money and increasingly sophisticated attempts by foreign actors to influence the electorate have undermined our democratic system.

That’s why we should be grateful that legislation designed to restore the political voice of “the people” and supported by 65 organizations, including nonpartisan groups such as Common Cause and the League of Women Voters, was the first bill introduced by U.S. House Democrats in January. H.R. 1 is a reform package that would:

• Improve access, promote integrity and ensure election security.

• Empower citizens over dark money from corporate and special interests seeking to undermine the voice of voters.

• Reinforce ethics laws and enforcement for elected officials and others holding public office.

Some of H.R. 1’s key provisions include requiring political organizations to disclose their donors, expanding the “stand by your ad” provision (requiring candidates to approve ads run on their behalf), aligning internet disclosure with existing broadcast rules, strengthening oversight by the Federal Election Commission and tightening rules on super PACs.

We must put an end to dark money in politics, improve ethics enforcement for elected officials, strengthen voting access and fortify the integrity of our elections. Protecting our democracy should not be a partisan issue. All members of Congress should support the passage of this bill.

Barbara Kaplan, Peninsula

 

Happy to be liberal

As a lifelong liberal, I take umbrage at the maligning distortion of the word by some letter writers. (You can almost see the spittle splashing their written word.)

The iconic conservative George Will opens his book “Bunts” with these definitions of liberals and conservatives:

“The differences between conservatives and liberals are as much a matter of temperament as ideas. Liberals temperamentally are inclined to see the world as a harmonious carnival of sweetness and light, where goodwill prevails, good intentions are rewarded, the race is to the swift and a benevolent Nature arranges a favorable balance of pleasure over pain. Conservatives (and Cub fans) know better.

“Conservatives know the world is a dark and forbidding place where most new knowledge is false, most improvements are for the worse, the battle is not to the strong, nor riches to men of understanding and an unscrupulous Providence consigns innocents to suffering.”

Granted, he’s talking about baseball, but I feel he has captured the real essence of our differences. Smithsonian magazine had an article professing that babies are born with predestined personalities. So, I take consolation in the idea that they can’t help it: Conservatives are born mean.

Eleanor Lindway, Cuyahoga Falls

 

Don’t get rooked

Chess, it was said, is the game of kings.

Not any more. The pawns won’t move for the will of the king.

We don’t want to clean up your mess anymore.

Elaina Scuderi, Akron

 

Threats from the top

The president of the United States refuses to reopen our government unless he gets his wall. Sounds like extortion. Isn’t that a crime?

C.M. Spenoso, Cuyahoga Falls