Readers write: the American political process, respect in Jerusalem

Letters for the editor for the Aug. 17 & 24, 2015 weekly magazine.

Daniel Sangjib Min/Richmond Times-Dispatch/AP
Voters cast their ballots on Election Day in front of a stage decoration for a Veterans Day event at Robious Elementary School in Midlothian, Va., on Nov. 4, 2014.

The American political process
Thank you for the excellent and informative Aug. 3 cover story, “How voters really choose.” It should be noted that the Founding Fathers designed a republic, not a democracy. The Founders designed the House of Representatives for more direct representation of the passions, causes, and impatience of the general public. They designed the Senate for a slower, more thoughtful process toward legislation. I think we would be better served if we could find a way to restore a more mature, thoughtful process in at least one branch of Congress. The current, arcane rules of the Senate do not satisfy that need.
David Holton
Pleasanton, Calif.

The Aug. 3 cover story on voting dynamics was valuable for its insights. One can still hope, however, for a presidential selection process that is shorter, deeper, and more enlightening.
Here’s a proposal for less politics, better politics, and better government: Have a few more-populous states, such as California, move their primaries to May or June, with party conventions in July or August, and hold presidential campaigns in September and October. May-June primaries in Illinois, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, New York, Texas, and/or Pennsylvania would hopefully force Iowa and New Hampshire into proper perspective.
Also, bring back “Election Year.” What would all those candidates do with that extra year? Perhaps some productive work, rather than running a marathon of self-promotion.
George Cartter
Vacaville, Calif.

Mutual respect in Jerusalem
As recommended in the July 27 Monitor’s View “Jerusalem, both whole and holy,” religious dialogue is really vital right now in Jerusalem to help calm the anger of the destitute Palestinians living almost cheek by jowl with those in the prosperous Jewish suburbs. Mutual respect promoted by Israeli and Palestinian religious leaders may be the only way to lessen the growing resentment evidenced so inhumanely in the holy city.
David Barker
Devon, England

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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