Email Letters: November 15, 2016

A republic is not the same as a democracy

In Sunday’s Sentinel, Gene Goffin points out that he was lied to when he learned in school that we live in a democracy. For what it’s worth, it’s doubtful his teachers were purposely misleading him, but were only passing on their own misunderstanding.

In a recent Daily Sentinel editorial the writer quoted Benjamin Franklin’s answer as to what kind of government the founders created: “A republic, if you can keep it.” Immediately after quoting Franklin, the editorial writer stated our government is a democracy. Head slap.

Yes, the founders did set up a democratic republic, which is, just to be clear, a republic, not a democracy. Franklin said, “A republic, if you can keep it.” The fear was that the republic could easily digress into a democracy, also known as mob-ocracy. They knew the dangers of a pure democracy. A classic description of democracy is “Two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for supper.”

Our founders wanted to set up a government that would be of, by, and for the people but would still protect the lambs. Herein lies the genius of the Electoral College. Sadly, there are a growing number of people today who want to abolish the Electoral College and embrace mob-ocracy. Apparently they believe they are smarter and wiser than our founders. Perhaps they are, but somehow I doubt it.

Goffin was also taught that the United States once led the world in democracy. But if Benjamin Franklin actually knew what kind of government he had helped create, then we could hardly have led the world in something that we are not. Nevertheless, the USA has led the world in freedom. Unfortunately, our freedoms have been steadily eroding as both Democrats and Republicans alike continue to ignore and denigrate our Constitution.


Grand Junction

We can’t make energy ‘great’ again with traditional energy sources

Your article in Sunday’s paper, “Will Trump Make Energy Great Again” was a balanced article presenting how energy concerns differ after this election. However, the headline and photographs were very misleading. What was missing was a future-looking inclusion of wind and solar and other renewable forms of energy. You report that on his website Trump included renewable energy sources alongside traditional ones and talked about “protecting the country’s most valuable resources – our clean air, clean water, and natural habitats” as he creates new jobs in the energy sector. So, more balanced and responsible headline/photographs would have included wind and solar, for starters. Perhaps “How will Trump revolutionize our energy resources” would have been a better headline, holding him to his website statements and advocating for new sources of energy.

We read Monday in The Sentinel that carbon emissions have flattened worldwide, but we have further to go to arrest climate change. As the second-greatest carbon polluter in the world, the U.S. cannot afford to bring back coal pollution and cancel our commitment to slowing climate change, which is not a myth. Scientists worldwide verify that this is a high priority problem. To say that making energy “great” again with traditional energy sources only is a disservice to concerns about climate change and future developments in the energy sector.

Grand Junction

Consider building new Senior Citizens Center for community

Now is the time again for the various boards and councils to address the need for a new Senior Citizens Center or Community Recreation Center for the Grand Junction community. These governing bodies have shown they have undesignated funds in their current accounts as large as $10 million. The governing bodies find money to buy a parking lot and pawn shop for future needs and consider adding on rooms or renovation or other properties for future needs while current needs are not addressed.

For years, the Senior Citizens Center has asked the city to provide a Senior Citizens Center that meets current needs. You’re invited to the current Senior Citizens Center to see these needs. You will a room approximately 10 by 12 feet that contains three pieces of exercise equipment, library books, and shelves along the walls, stored kitchen equipment, a card table and a chair in the center of the room for use when reading and putting puzzles together. All of these things are in this small room. There is no room in the Senior Citizens Center for conducting these and other needed programs. At this time, part of St. Mary’s Life Center, including the gym, is closing, affecting 1,500 people who are mostly senior citizens. I ask you, board and council members, and the members of the great community to build a much needed Senior Citizens Center, a Community Recreation Center, or a combined facility to meet current needs.

Grand Junction

Our country is a representative republic

The United States of America is a representative republic. The people democratically vote for a presidential candidate and then their representatives or “electors” cast that vote for them. Each state has a certain number of electors assigned according to its population. This number was based on the 2010 census; the next census will be in 2020.

For example, California is the most populated state in the union and has the most electors, 55, which were all cast for its majority choice Hillary Clinton. Only two states do not follow this winner-take-all rule – Nebraska with five electors and Maine with four electors.

Article II, Section 1, of the U.S. Constitution reads, “Each State shall appoint in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress.”

Donald Trump did receive the most votes democratically cast by the people in the majority of states with the most electors or representatives of this republic.

It’s time to move on and unite to solve this country’s problems.



Our electoral system provides a voice for all eligible citizens

Unfortunately, Mr. Goffin’s education on living in a democracy was either sadly lacking, or he wasn’t paying attention. He might have learned it was a system that provided a voice for all the eligible members, a system of representation by all the eligible members. The word system is key here.

If we did not have the electoral system, our president would be elected by New York and California, with perhaps the assistance of Illinois and Florida and Massachusetts. People in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, etc. might not choose to vote at all. Presidents might ignore these smaller states as they governed. I continue to find it extraordinary that these people living 250 years ago were so wise as to the possible pitfalls of self governing, a rare privilege that didn’t exist in most of the world at that time.

I was pleased to read that Mesa County teachers were bringing rational discussion to the subject of the election, as the metropolitan areas of Colorado were so busy feeding the mistaken views of their students, that they might be rounded up and sent back to Mexico, that they didn’t have time to play the role that teachers should take on, that of rational discussion about events of the day.
While serving on the State Board of Education we had many discussions about the woeful state of the study of history and government in many (but not all) of our schools. Perhaps this will provide a stimulus to return it to the prominence it so badly needs.


Grand Junction

Brooks columns deserve to be abolished from paper’s pages

The David Brooks columns deserve to be abolished from the pages of The Daily Sentinel. I have rarely, if ever, seen such anger and vitriol vented by a so-called respected journalist. The American people elected Donald Trump. Brooks believes that those who voted for him are “children of darkness,” a “primitive horde driven by dark fears and prejudices” or merely “crude and ignorant.” On the other side, (Brooks’ side), we have “the children of light” and “us enlightened, college-educated tolerant people.”

This piece of trash is a perfect example of why Trump won the election. People from all walks of life voted for Donald Trump and will support him as he offers promise for change. Why is it so hard for some people like Brooks to see that which is so clear? Is it the fact he and many other naysayers would rather look down their noses at the real Americans who stand by their country and see the need for real change? Perhaps he is a “child of darkness.”


Grand Junction

Brooks column was truly ‘deplorable’

In reference to David Brooks’ Sunday commentary, I had assumed he was a learned, open-minded journalist. Apparently he is among the whining, crybaby sore losers who throng in our streets, making our country a laughingstock. To top if off, he predicts a one-year term for our new president. Now that’s what I call deplorable!

P.S. Also deplorable: dishonoring and disrespecting our American flag and National Anthem.


Recent insert contained an inaccurate translation of Maya and Nirvana

“The Fruits of Evolution” by Elvin Stauffer in the Sentinel’s insert “Reaching Out” contained an inaccurate translation of Maya and Nirvana, describing them as “illusion” and “death.” Stauffer also derogatorily describes Buddhism as “a narcotic for starving populations,” and Buddhists as “morally perverse pagans.”

While Stauffer is certainly ignorant of Buddhism (and apparently Sanskrit, scientific method, logic, and the many other subjects he opines upon), it perhaps may nevertheless interest him that Maya is a word which comes from the root “man” meaning “to think.” The Buddha Gotama taught that an observer and reality are co-originating – a concept proven through the modern science of quantum mechanics, and common through the Puranas: an observer affects what they are observing by their observation. What is seen, heard, touched, tasted and felt are subject to interpretation; the world is only as we think we have observed it. This is why witness testimony is unreliable without supporting evidences: Gotama taught that applying negatory logic through reason in what the west has understood as “scientific method” discovers the real “truth.”

Nirvana is a word that literally means, “blow out,” similar to “extinguished,” and is used in the context of extinguishing desire, fear and hatred – a necessary step toward attaining enlightenment (which is itself only another step in a being’s development). These, as much as anything, prevent accurate observation of the world – and result in wrongdoing.

There are actually several Dharmic institutions in Grand Junction at which Stauffer may learn more about Buddhism. He may find Gotama less deplorable than he imagines.

The Editors and readers of the Sentinel are also invited to learn more about Buddhism, as they may be better able to consider the hateful, fearful rhetoric that was so perniciously printed for public distribution.


Grand Junction


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