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letters | power of the vote

Patchwork quilt of constituencies is what democracy is supposed to look like

Arnold Koch suggests that democracy is not well served by women’s suffrage because women, using the vote, have favored candidates and government programs that improve their own “safety net” (“More women means more liberalism,” Letters, Jan. 7). This presupposes that male voters never used their access to the franchise to promote programs that served their needs.

I would argue that men have always promoted their own values through the vote. It’s not subversive to democracy, but their exclusive hold on the franchise was, as Swanee Hunt argued in a Jan. 2 op-ed.

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Of course, women and men, blacks and whites, immigrants and native born, able-bodied and those with disabilities all use the power of their votes to promote programs that meet their needs and express their values. Since all share in the community, all should be part of the process that determines how the community is served.

Each group brings its unique experience and perspective to the process. If that isn’t democracy, what on earth is it?

Because things changed when women began participating doesn’t mean that that change was inimical to democracy. It only shows that enlarging the franchise makes a difference in the life of the community.

Polyxane S. Cobb

Cambridge

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