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Letter to the Editor: Democracy is imperfect

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Saturday, April 13, 2019

Winston Churchill said that “the American system of representative democracy is terrible unless you consider all the other options available.”

Our system is terrible, but still it's the best we've got. That speaks very poorly for all the other options available! Washington, i.e. our federal government, is a mess.

Is President Trump to blame for the worst of these problems? No, of course not.

How can he be when he's been on the job but two years?

We get reports that illegal immigrant crossings at our southern border are at an all-time high.

We get other reports that our VA hospitals are uniformly rated poor.

These are the health care facilities for our vets. Those are just two problems, but both of those point the blame squarely at Washington, or the federal government.

The southern border problems didn't crop up overnight. They have been building for decades.

When President Reagan signed off on amnesty for illegal immigrants in 1986, steps should have been taken to stem the tide of illegal crossings. Walls should have been built and the border patrol should have been better funded.

Such steps weren't taken, though. Desperate, dispossessed individuals and families continued to pour across our southern border as our elected representatives ignored the issue.

Now it's a veritable flood of poor, desperate people, including families with little children. They are fleeing poverty and crime.

And President Trump is somehow responsible? How can that be?

As for the sorry state of things at the VA, those problems, too, didn't spring forth overnight. Those problems, too, have been building and building for decades. As the percentage of veterans continued to decline, funding for veterans has been systemically reduced. Meanwhile, the squeakier “wheels,” special interest groups, received the greatest largesse. Yes, the veteran population was getting older and was requiring more care, yet the fact remained that the veteran population at 6 percent of all citizens is so tiny a number, no one in power paid it much attention.

There weren't any voters to be had, so why bother? Lip service. That's what our duly elected representatives gave to our veterans and their causes.

Again, the current president can't be blamed for the sorry state of affairs at VA-run facilities. How can he be?

He came to Washington only two years ago, in January of 2016.

We didn't get into these messes overnight, and we certainly won't get out of these messes overnight.

Representative democracy is not without faults.

Robert Peele

Rocky Mount

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