Readers write: Avoiding bias, and D.C. statehood

Letters to the editor for the May 17, 2021 weekly magazine. Readers discuss an April cover story about fixing American democracy.


The need for collaboration

The April 19 issue provided a perfect poster child of the Monitor! Complex issues of immigration, bullying, racial conflict, and challenges of climate change were woven together like thoughtful threads leading to the cover story, “Can American democracy be fixed?” 

These matters do not exist in isolation and require our best collaborative thinking for progress. Politicians who want to protect turf instead of ideas are enabling and extending inequalities in representation. Five states have trouble-free, total mail-in voting, with high percentages of participation. Why isn’t that model the one to pursue? Surely engaged citizenry is the way to preserve a healthy democracy.

Ann Hymes
Laguna Woods, California

Inconsistent qualification

The cover story “Can American democracy be fixed?” provides a valuable analysis of the challenges facing our democracy to-day, including some helpful historical con-text. I’m happy to see the Monitor tackling this issue with candor. In terms of avoiding bias, though, I think it falls a bit short.

Wouldn’t it be fairer to refer to the president’s claims of election fraud as unfounded, rather than as lies? And why does the author refer to cancel culture as “perceived” when there’s overwhelming evidence of it? It’s noteworthy that the Monitor doesn’t apply this qualifier to terms like institutional racism, though it is a controversial topic.

Jennifer Quinn
Gate City, Virginia

Why D.C. seeks statehood

Thanks for your April 19 cover story, “Can American democracy be fixed?” I must correct a misconception about statehood for the District of Columbia. Citizens of the district demand equal voting rights because it is only fair. Other methods for representation have been considered, but would not address such issues as self-determination of our own budget and laws, which states do have.

Yes, while statehood would likely add two Democratic senators and a Democratic representative, we have worked on it for decades, even when it would not have tipped the balance in Congress. Maybe recognition would attract more people with varied political views.

Christine Matthews

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