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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

California Not Alone in Celebrity Obsession

August 23, 2003

Re "Tyranny of the Mob Rules in California," Commentary, Aug. 19:

I am sick and tired of nationwide media outlets and academics like Larry J. Sabato repeatedly accusing California of having a "regrettable obsession with superficial Hollywood celebrity." Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger is running for governor, but not at the behest of the majority of Californians. He, like the other 134 recall candidates, plunked down $3,500 and 65 signatures, putting his name on the ballot whether state voters like it or not.

To accuse California alone of being celebrity-obsessed is to ignore Schwarzenegger's face on the covers of national publications Time and Newsweek, as well as on nationwide broadcast news coverage. With such ubiquitous coverage, it seems the rest of the country might be a little star-struck itself.

Jennifer Pearson

Northridge

*

If Alexander Hamilton and James Madison were alive today they would be cheering on Sabato's clear-sighted commentary about "mob-ocracy" taking over California politics. The framers of the Constitution understood the strengths and weaknesses of democracy. They knew the dangers of the "tyranny of the majority" and understood how easily a republic can degenerate into a mere democracy, which is just another way of saying mob rule. The strength of our nation lies in representative democracy. Why can't Californians understand this very simple concept?

Richard A. Steel

Los Angeles

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