A Democratic Discussion

This well-written compilation of articles [“Can This Democracy Be Saved?” Fall 2014 On Wisconsin] explores how divided our country has become. Somewhere in my lifetime, we turned the word compromise into an epithet that has turned politics into a blood war. We seem, as a nation, to be intent on self-destruction waged upon ideologies of competing billionaires. On, Wisconsin! Perhaps some of us will sift and winnow, and in the process we might save us from ourselves.

John Cerniglia ’66

As far as I can see, democracy is not perfect, but still good.

fei ma

The writer should note that although we certainly employ many democratic principles in the governance of our great nation, we were founded as a republic, not a democracy. This is evidenced in the words of our Pledge of Allegiance: “I pledge my allegiance to the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands.”

Kara Reishus ’86

“Teaching Controversy” features a picture of President Lyndon Johnson allegedly signing “into law” the Twenty-Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Constitutional amendments are not “law” and a presidential signature is not needed to make them binding. [They] require a super majority vote by both houses of Congress and ratification by the states — nothing else. Whatever LBJ was doing in this picture, he was not signing the Twenty-Fourth Amendment into law. My guess is that it was a publicity stunt.

Edward J. Larson MA’76, PhD’84

Malibu, California

Published in the Winter 2014 issue

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