American Democracy

This is your nation. You should be in charge.

I was an intermittent college student from 1987 through 2012, during and after my 24-year enlisted career in the US Air Force. Toward the end of that period, I frequently heard objections to my calling America a Democracy. Political science students had been taught that the United States is a Republic, not a Democracy.

As a lifelong defender of Democracy, few comments can anger me more. It is true that we have a Constitution and executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government and that we hold elections. But, so does the Islamic Republic of Iran. Indeed, the Iranians staged another election in 2017. Is there no difference between our two nations? Of course there is.

In Iran, the supreme law-giver—the entity that provides Iran’s constitution—is God as interpreted by the clerics. Iran is a theocracy. In the United States, you—We the People—are the supreme law-giver. We are a Democracy.

This matters greatly because in Iran, politicians must be most concerned with the will of the clerics. In the United States, politicians—all of them public servants—must be most concerned with the will of the people.

So, when the people of Pennsylvania tell members of the General Assembly that they must hand over control of redistricting to the citizens of Pennsylvania and end gerrymandering by political parties, the only proper response from these public servants is to promptly get to the business of returning redistricting decisions to the people.

Exactly the same applies when the American public says to a presidential candidate and a President, “Show us your tax returns!” The only appropriate response from Donald Trump, who serves under a Constitution controlled by We the People, is to hand over those returns without delay.

Many Republicans seem to have lost the idea that they work for, and must be responsive to, the citizens of their districts, their states, and their country. Their efforts at gerrymandering and voter suppression are attempts at overturning our Constitution, to escape the supervision of the voters. Their refusal to meet with their constituents—Lou Barletta has not had a public town hall since 2011—is a willful evasion of their responsibilities.

I am traveling all throughout the 11th District to meet and hear from as many voters as I can. I will continue to do this after you make me your Representative in Congress. I know who is in charge here. It is you, We the People, and I will never forget that.