Letters to the Editor

Survey crucial

May 14, 2012


To the editor:

As a democracy, it is essential to know how citizens feel about all issues facing America. Politicians should be aware of public opinion, not just those issues that come to a vote in traditional elections. That is why I was sad to see Rep. Kevin Yoder and the House GOP vote to cut funding to the American Community Survey, a survey conducted since the time of Thomas Jefferson in between the Census. On the same day, Yoder and the House GOP voted to cut funding to the American National Election Studies and all political science related funding from the National Science Foundation. Some of that funding makes it directly to the faculty and students at Kansas University. Without such studies, we must trust the news media, political parties, interest groups and politicians to discern the will of the people.

Budget cuts must be made, but the amount saved in these cuts is miniscule compared with the value of these surveys for our democracy. Policymakers, businesses and scholars all rely on this data, and one would expect our elected representatives to value the opinion of the people as well. This is one more step in removing the voice of the common citizen from the halls of the Capitol. I hope Yoder can take initiative to roll back these harmful changes.


Brian Laird 5 years, 1 month ago

Actually, we are a democracy and a republic. Those terms are not mutually exclusive.

Brian Laird 5 years, 1 month ago

You are talking about direct democracy, which is one form of democracy, but not the only one. The US is a republic and a representative democracy, which still makes it a democracy.

Brian Laird 5 years, 1 month ago

I'm sorry, but you just don't get to define words to mean what you want them to mean. In this US we vote directly for representatives who govern on our behalf. That is not in dispute, therefore we are a representative democracy and thus a democracy. Yes, that democracy is based on a set of rules defined in a constitution, which puts limits on the type of legislation and actions the government can take, but that just makes us a constitutionally limited democracy, but still a democracy.

A country can be a republic and not a democracy (I.e. USSR) or one can be a democracy without being a republic (I.e. England) or one can be both as in US, Germany, France, etc....

Brian Laird 5 years, 1 month ago

No, I'm not confused. I prefer to get my definitions from dictionaries and other reputable sources, not from political blogs and YouTube. I just dislike people trying to change the language to make political and ideological points. Chosing an unnecessarily narrow definition of democracy (I.e. direct democracy = democracy),nusing it to argue that the US is not a democracy and then insinuating that because people do not share your unusual view, they need some so of remediation (see your first post). Why this has become some sort of right wing Internet meme is beyond me?

Brian Laird 5 years, 1 month ago

So what. The Constitution provided for the direct election of Representatives and was later amended to allow for direct election of Senators. That makes us a representative democracy. It is not that hard of a concept.

Using your logic I could say that no where in the Constitution is the US referred to as a republic, so it must not be a republic. The clause you mentioned referred to the states. Of course the US is a republic. It also happens to be a democracy. They are not mutually exclusive no matter how much you seem, for whatever reasons, to want them to be.

As arguing with a person who wants to make up his own words and definitions is pointless because there can be no common language of discourse, I am going to stop wasting my time.

Jon Jambor 5 years, 1 month ago

If this funding is cut, I bet lots of private concerns would love to get into the survey business. Say, what?. There already ARE such companies? Imagine that!

Ragingbear 5 years, 1 month ago

We should take a survey to find out if a survey is needed. Perhaps we can make a committee that will vote on whether a focus group is needed to vote on the necessity of a survey being made that will determine if a survey needs to be made.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 1 month ago

LOL You should not have wrote that dude, I can just see the headline in tomorrows paper, Brownback forms committee, participates will be paid $50,000 for their time and effort. Results to be announced -sometime. Love it!

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