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July 4 photo caption not quite accurate; Supreme Court is failing democracy.

Caption not quite accurate

"Men dressed in period clothing" is not quite the best caption for the Fife & Drum Band leading the 4th of July Parade (page 1, July 11, 2019). Indeed, they are wearing uniforms characteristic of the Revolutionary War period, as are the flag and drum. The rifle is an authentic reproduction of the Charleville muskets supplied by the French to assist the Americans in their fight against the British. The range of ages in the Band is likewise characteristic of the citizens who fought, including the flagbearer showing the wound of battle. A Fife & Drum Band did lead columns of soldiers as they moved to help keep them "in step", signal times and movements, and inspire a bit of 'esprit de corps.' For the past 11 years a Fife & Drum Band has led the 4th of July Parade in Lake Oswego as a statement of our community that the magnificent freedoms and rights granted by the Declaration of Independence required a bloody war to secure.

John H. Warton, Jr. (A Man dressed in Period Clothing)

Lake Oswego

Supreme Court is failing democracy

Governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. So says the Declaration of Independence. We all learned that in school. A foundational principle is that one person, one vote is vital to our flourishing democracy. Is this the democracy we live in today? I think not.

The inability of our Supreme Court recently to counter gerrymandering wherein people in power decide who their voters will be as opposed to we voters deciding who our representatives will be is one strong argument. In question were congressional districts in North Carolina drawn by a Republican controlled legislature and Maryland drawn by Democrats. Chief Justice Roberts acknowledged that "excessive partisanship in districting leads to results that reasonably seem unjust", yet the court failed to reign in the abuses. I side with Justice Elena Kagan and the minority who said the gerrymanders "debased and dishonored our democracy, turning upside-down the core American idea that all governmental power derives from the people. If left unchecked," Kagan cautioned, "gerrymanders like the ones here may irreparably damage our system of government."

And we can look at other recent Supreme Court decisions undermining our democracy. In 2010, the court in Citizens United v. FEC allowed our elections to be overly influenced by corporations and unions with so much money that they become the loudest voice. Justice Stevens in his dissent said "A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold."

I want a country that cherishes every citizen has a right to vote. That cherishes government derives their just powers from the consent of all the governed. And that is all the governed, not just those who agree with me, who look like me or think like me.

Bill Tierney

Lake Oswego


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