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Are we secretly hoping for a dictatorship? No? Then we need to start acting differently.

I spent years working as a precinct election worker. On presidential elections, I watched voters line up out the door. During primary and off-year elections, I sat idle, waiting for voters. I began to wonder how we think about our democratic processes.

Do we think that the person who proclaims what we want from our government can give it to us just by electing him or her president? That’s not democracy, that’s a slippery slide to dictatorship, even if we don’t intend it to be. Democracy requires thoughtful participation, by all of us, in all phases of government.

We need to vote. We need to participate in many ways if we want government action to reflect our desires for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” We need to attend meetings and hearings that pertain to issues we care about, not to shout down the opposition but to give our lawmakers an understanding of what is important to us. Usually, the best solution is a compromise that takes in all points of view.

Donna Osseward, Seattle