I found it alarming to hear we had a U.S. congressman named Mike Lee contend that our country is not a democracy, because he claims it to be a republic. Albeit, we are not governed by a direct democracy, it needs to be understood and clarified that a republic actually is a form of democracy, and as such we are one of the oldest democracies in the world.

A republic, the most common form of democracy, is a democracy by representation, and is why every two years we hold democratic elections for representation. Consulting my huge Webster dictionary, published 30 years ago, the word republic means a constitutional government - democratic and representative. And for the word democracy, I found the meaning to be the rule of common people.

I also referred to my copy of the Constitution and found the first three words of the preamble — we the people ... and I also found guarantees to a citizen’s right to vote (which by the way is a democratic process).

I also found this, which is titled the Bloomberg Democracy Scale to show how all countries compare. It rates the United States, as well as Canada, among the most democratic countries in the world. It rates North Korea dead last (not surprising, that less democratic would equal more autocratic).

Doing even more research, I found it’s of no great accomplishment for a country to be a republic. There are more than 150 countries in the world that are republics. Afghanistan, Rwanda and Venezuela are some examples, however not places I would choose as my residence.

So, it is only by having a republic with democratic ideals that we have a very special country. Those ideals of self-governance which had been inspired by the Mayflower Compact are the ideals we need to safeguard.

Let us be a true democratic republic and not what is by nickname a banana republic.

Duane Shellcross, Tehachapi

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