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Regarding John Tessitore’s Feb. 7 column “Retire the phrase ‘The American people’ ”: No one has the right to say “The American people have spoken” unless such is true. We hear that phrase regularly from elected and appointed officials, usually as a defense mechanism for something they themselves feel, have done, or intend to do.

This rhetoric cannot and should not be used, unless it is the result of a referendum question. California is the only state that comes to mind in the frequent use of referenda. A referendum question is the closest we can come to as a gauge to what the American people want, think, approve or disapprove of.

Truth is, the American people spoke at the midterm elections. And that may be just the tip of the iceberg. We have lost faith in those we send to represent us in the nation’s capital.

Why are not controversial issues, such as whether to reverse Roe v. Wade, on the ballot as national referendum questions when we vote in national elections?

How about a multiple-choice of what constitutes a legitimate marriage? Shouldn’t we decide the “anchor baby” question? What about membership in NATO? The United Nations?

How about whether to continue $20 billion a year in foreign aid while our “representatives” talk about slashing Social Security and retirement benefits to those who “wore the suit” and are militarily retired?

If and when “the American people speak,” it will again be in the best interests of the American people, not others. Give us national referenda every two years, with two controversial issues.

Maj. John Canty (retired)

Rota, Spain


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