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Defining Democracy

September 10, 2000

John Balzar glossed over a few realities in his paean to American democracy ("Democracy Rocks!" Aug. 13). For starters, the thousands of pre-Columbian Indian tribes probably had every form of leadership known to man, not merely "hereditary chiefs." The Founding Fathers based the U.S. government partly on the model of the Iroquois League, which Benjamin Franklin touted highly. Whatever their form of government, Indians were arguably more free than their contemporaries in Europe.

Also, Jamestown didn't survive because of John Smith's proto-American traits such as discipline or a can-do attitude; it survived because of Pocahontas' help. Isn't our history impressive enough without these vain attempts to glorify it and ourselves?

Rob Schmidt

Culver City

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