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Letter to the editor

Defining democracy requires introspection

As we are buffeted toward the upcoming midterm and statewide elections of 2022, expect to hear ad nauseum that our democracy is under attack or there is an imminent threat to democracy.

Hyperbole aside, let’s examine this hypothesis.

Democracy by definition is a system of government by the whole population or the eligible members of a state typically through elected representatives.

The government exists to protect the natural civil liberties of all citizens through rule of law or constitutional restraint that is arbitrated by an independent judiciary.

Democracies have organized opposition parties and the citizens have not only rights but the responsibility to participate in the political system.

As we wade through the overwrought messaging that comes with a campaign season, keep this definition in mind. Ask which candidate or party is determined to impinge our civil liberties.

Who is meddling with the independent judiciary by applying ideological litmus tests or by packing courts to tilt it in their philosophical favor?

Who is directly, or through their corporate surrogates, attempting to stifle or marginalize the opposition?

Who has been issuing unconstitutional mandates or executive orders, having those defeated in court, and then ignoring the subsequent rulings?

Who is gathering information on citizens through illegal surveillance, exposition of medical information or snooping on banking transactions?

Who is criminalizing or otherwise deterring participation in the political arena through the chilling of first amendment rights or other forms of intimidation?

Who is responsible for the attempt to change voter demographics through the continuous flow and relocation of illegal immigrants?

It is entirely possible that democracy is under attack, however as per the usual playbook, those who say this the most are likely those that are most responsible.

It would be illogical to think that those who espouse a hybrid socialist philosophy or a collectivist worldview will be the great defenders of democracy.

Our democracy has been the longest continuous form of government in history.

It has remained vibrant and strong through internal and external struggles not because of loquacious would be dictators or intellectually average central planners.

It remains the greatest hope on earth because of the goodness and strength of its citizens.

When the American patriot is ultimately aroused, democracy will long live.

Mel Kepner

Altoona

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