Editor:

Maybe its time that we try to share a general understanding of the meaning of words like Democracy, Oligarchy, Fascism, Capitalism, Socialism and Communism.

In very simplified terms, Democracy refers to a system in which the citizens either directly rule or elect representatives to make decisions for them; Oligarchy is when a small group of people (the military, wealthy, or?) make decisions for the rest of the people; and Fascism is when an individual assumes dictatorial power and forcibly suppresses any opposition.

Capitalism is when a country’s trade and industry are run by private citizens rather than by the state. Socialism advocates that the means of production and distribution of goods and services are conducted or regulated by the government. Communism is a system in which all property is publicly owned and workers are paid according to their abilities and needs.

Our country is a constitutional democracy with a predominantly capitalist economic system. However, it is not entirely capitalist. The military, national parks and forests, federal highways, public housing, and various agencies and programs are funded by taxes and administered at the national level. You could say that these are socialist systems. The same could be said of public education at the state level and police and fire departments at the local level. Most Americans seem willing to have governments provide these services.

I am certain that none of the Democrat candidates for state or national office advocate for communism, socialism, fascism or a ruling oligarchy. They, like most Republicans and independents, want to promote our constitutional democracy and make America a more just society in which every American (regardless of race or religion) can live in peace with freedom to pursue his or her own dreams whether economic, social or religious.

Some Republican politicians like Paul Gosar and Donald Trump are trying to scare voters into believing that Democrats will lead a communist or socialist take over of our government. I am sure this is not the case. I am more afraid that President Trump and the Republicans in Congress will forgo constitutional democracy in favor of an oligarchy or fascist regime in which Trump and his allies run the country like Putin does in Russia, Xi Jinping does in China and Hitler did in Germany.

Frankly, I think we would serve our country better if we cut the scare tactics and ask all candidates for public office to explain how they will work with other elected officials to help Americans survive the pandemic, combat global warming and restore our economy ... then hold them to their word.

Robert Hershberger, Payson

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(2) comments

Dan Varnes

The letter above is chock full of misinformation and it labors under a common misconception which is constantly spoken of by modern Democrats. You will rarely hear any Republican improperly using the word "democracy" as they seem to be better informed about the basics of our country's founding.

The USA is without any doubt, a Constitutional Republic. The word "democracy" is nowhere to be found in our key founding documents—not in the Constitution and not in the Declaration of Independence, which summarizes the Constitution’s premises.

The reason for this is simple. Democracy does not achieve what America’s Founders understood to be the essential purpose of constitutional government.

Julie Phillips

It might be helpful to clarify some terms.

The key difference between a democracy and a republic lies in the limits placed on government by the law, which has implications for minority rights. Both forms of government tend to use a representational system — i.e., citizens vote to elect politicians to represent their interests and form the government. In a republic, a constitution or charter of rights protects certain inalienable rights that cannot be taken away by the government, even if it has been elected by a majority of voters.

In a "pure democracy," the majority is not restrained in this way and can impose its will on the minority.

I sincerely doubt that Mr Hershberger , or anyone for that matter, is advocating for a system of government in the USA where majority rules without fundamental constitutional protections for EVERYONE. Having said that, you still can't yell FIRE in a crowded movie theater, go where ever you want with active TB, or point loaded firearms at people you don't want in the street in front of your home.

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