Letter to the Editor: ‘Save America!’

I see this slogan on Republican signs, but Democrats also want to save America! We just disagree about what “America” means. 

For Democrats, it is the “United States”: the “one nation, indivisible” that we salute in the Pledge of Allegiance; a unified republic, not simply a collection of independent states. 

We also pledge to uphold “liberty and justice for all” – not just one class, gender, religion or race. Ideally, justice applies equally to all, regardless of heritage, lineage, wealth or position. No one is above the law. According to the Constitution, “liberty” means freedom for all citizens from coercion of speech, religion, press, assembly and due process. 

Our laws are made by citizens (ideally, peers) whom we elect by means that are carefully monitored for fairness. Electoral transgressions are punished. Laws are both reviewed and enforced by elected or appointed citizens in our judicial system of courts, police and prisons. The Supreme Court interprets whether a law is consistent with the Constitution and establishes precedents that give stability to the system (although occasionally it fails). 

No government is perfect. Ours is still a work in progress, but our democracy has some distinct advantages over other systems: Our Constitution provides for succession by peaceful transition in the executive branch, and the right of all citizens to vote, as established in its amendments, is understood to be nonnegotiable and binding. Insurrection is forbidden. Legitimate change happens through a fair vote. 

This America has served as a highly respected model around the world, even as authoritarian leaders disparage democracy. Democrats want to save this America – from violence, intimidation, conspiracy or purchase, and from various schemes to render the vote meaningless.

I do not know what other America the current Republican Party wants you to save, but if you vote for it, please be certain that it measures up to the one that encompasses our best historical practices and principles. American democracy – rule of, by and for all the people – is worth fighting for. 

Estella Lauter

Fish Creek, Wisconsin