Readers write: Merits of voting system, conservatives and climate

Letters to the editor for the April 3, 2017 weekly magazine.

Matt Rourke/AP
Protesters demonstrate ahead of Pennsylvania's 58th Electoral College at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., on Dec. 19, 2016.

Merits of voting system

I feel compelled to respond to the Dec. 21 Daily News Briefing “Today’s View” that advocated eliminating the Electoral College. This action would be learning the wrong lesson from the recent US presidential election. The framers of the US Constitution had to create a system of self-government that gives voice to myriad viewpoints without having large concentrations of population in certain regions determine most of the issues of national importance. A pure democracy would have allowed a majority of voters to remove rights, property, and political power from the minority. 

The Electoral College was designed to have the states choose the president. Equal state representation in some form was a key compromise at the Constitutional Convention. It was designed to produce a limited government that the newly independent republics would accept in exchange for giving away much of their independent sovereignty to this new federal government. This way, a vast swath of the country would not be a “colony” of the dense population of our urban areas. The regional balance achieved through the Electoral College is more necessary than ever.

Keith Preston

Ballwin, Mo.

Conservatives and climate

Regarding the Feb. 8 story “What climate change action, Republican-style, might look like” (CSMonitor.com): Bravo for a conservative plan addressing climate change! Increasing numbers of Republican voters are concerned. Yet party leaders are fearful of taking a public stand.

It’s clear that attitudes about climate change depend on social and political identity groups. If it becomes acceptable for Republicans to believe in climate change, they will do so. The accountability is with party leaders; the voters will readily follow. Concerns about “big government” can then be addressed on their own merits, in the context of solving a problem that threatens our very existence.

Susan R. Donaldson

Cambridge, Mass.

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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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