Letters at length, September 25

"Us" versus "we"

Thanks to the Daily Tidings for passing on our message of thanks to the many firefighters and organizations who saved our homes on Morninglight Drive (see Sept. 23 letter "Hero firefighters saved our homes"). One small correction would be in order, however. As the scribe responsible for the Morninglight thank you note, I want to clarify that my original letter reads, "We residents of Morninglight Drive would like to nominate the firefighters who battled the Siskiyou blaze off Tolman Creek on Sept. 21, 2009 for Hero Awards." In transcribing that sentence, the newspaper staff changed the nominative "we" required by its position as subject in that sentence to the objective "us," thus resulting in the non-grammatical "Us residents of Morninglight..." For those steeped in computer wizardry who wonder at the esoterica of grammar and spelling, I would like to share the following from the Internet:

Owed to a spell checker

I have a spelling checker

It came with my PC

It plane lee marks four my revue

Miss steaks aye can knot sea

Eye ran this poem threw it

You should be glad two no

It's very polished in it's weigh

My checker tolled me sew

A checker is a bless sing

It freeze yew lodes of thyme

It helps me right all stiles of verse

And aides me when aye rime

To rite with care is quite a feet

Of witch won should be prowed

And wee mussed dew the best wee can

Miss stakes are know aloud

And now bee cause my spelling

Is checked with such grate care

There are know flaws within my site

Of nun eye am a wear

Each frays come posed up on my screen

Eye trussed to be a joule

The checker pours over every word

To cheque some spelling rule

That's why aye brake in two averse

My righting wants to pleas

Sow now eye sea why aye dew prays

Such soft wear for pea seas

Thank you for printing my correction; the local high school students whom I advise about their college choices, particularly their personal essays, can rest easier now.

Suzanne Witucki


Are we a republic or a democracy?

There are sometimes almost bitter arguments about whether the United States is a republic or a democracy.

I have read some of these arguments in this very newspaper. I have heard people being applauded for insisting that the United States is a republic rather than a democracy.

James Madison defined republic as a representative democracy (governed by representatives of the people) as opposed to a direct democracy (governed by the people).

It has been said that the head of state of a republic is not a monarch, but is chosen by a vote of the people.

When the head of state of a democracy is elected by a vote of the people, that democracy is often called a democratic republic.

The United States is often referred to as a democratic republic.

The United States is sometimes called "The Union," and the Preamble to the Constitution refers to "forming a more perfect Union" through the enactment of the Constitution.

In the United States, the word republic is most often used as a synonym for state or government.

These are but a few of the many explanations or definitions used to identify or define our nation.

Many Republicans seem to be convinced that the United States is a republic rather than a democracy (maybe because of the name of their party) and that people who call it a democracy are idiotic, atheistic or communistic (maybe all three). For some reason it doesn't seem to bother them that the full name of the Soviet Union (a communist governmental structure) was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

I am pretty comfortable with calling the United States a democracy, a republic, a democratic republic, a republican democracy, our nation, our country, the Union or just the United States.

These are all words which were made up, generally by men, over the course of time, and have different meanings to different people.

Ed Dillon


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