A democracy is recognized when one observes differences of opinions being resolved by debates and votes in duly-elected governing bodies or by each side presenting their arguments before a judicial system. Once decided in either case, both sides accept the majority vote or the judicial opinion.

A dictatorship is recognized when one person or political party does not accept any decision or opinion other than their own and then enforces that by the use of deadly force. We all have seen examples of the Taliban or ISIS patrolling, weapons in hand, to enforce their rule and permanently eliminate any suspected opposition. Or we have read stories of other countries’ rulers riding roughshod over human rights.

Fast forward to America in January 2021 when the Proud Boys, QAnon, and others invaded our nation’s Capitol, some with weapons in hand, ready to force by deadly means their will on the American people. It is easy to picture the Taliban and the Proud Boys masked and camouflaged, standing side by side, ready with machine guns. It’s a very scary image. Obviously, our American combatants were not programmed to accept the democratic process but were ready to implement dictatorial means.

The most disgraceful aspect observed in that revolting episode was that one of our political parties embraced that scenario. That included the gun-toters, behind-the-scenes leaders, public defenders, silent followers, excuse-makers, political bedfellows, and, sadly, those who see no evil because of their closed minds.

Our 2022 midterm elections just might be one of the most important ever in American history. Each and every one of us must decide on the future course of democracy in the United States. Will it be the democratic process or “might is right” and the Big Lie?

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Burleigh K. Rapp


Readers' View and Local Views

Letters are limited to 300 words, must be the original work of the author and must be exclusive to the News Tribune. Letters are edited for style, space, accuracy and civility.

Letter writers are limited to one published submission every 30 days.

With rare exceptions, the News Tribune does not publish poetry; letters that are anonymous, libelous or attack other writers; consumer-complaint letters; thank-you letters; or letters generated by political or special-interest campaigns.

We will consider exclusive Local View columns of 600 words or fewer. Authors should possess unique insights, and their commentaries should demonstrate greater knowledge of their subject than letters.

Email submissions to: letters@duluthnews.com

Mail to: Readers' Views, Duluth News Tribune, 424 W. First St., Duluth, MN 55802.

Fax to: 218-720-5120.

Include a full name, address and daytime phone number. Only names and hometowns will be published.