From the time children are in grade school they are taught about America's great representative government. That's what democracy is all about, we are told. While we no longer have village meetings where all attend and voice opinions directly, we vote for people to represent us in the Senate and House of Representatives. If they don't, we find people who do, and vote them in instead.

Some senators (the week of April 15) acted in a manner that disgraced the concept of representative government. They voted against new gun control legislation that would have extended background checks so that criminals and the mentally challenged could be blocked from buying new weapons. It is hard to imagine what objection an individual would have to that type of restriction. Yet 45 senators voted against it.

We will continue to hear the excuses and the self-righteous explanations pour forth from these senators. After all, democracy allows for different opinions, they will say. That is correct. What democracy doesn't allow for are non-representative representatives. When a senator's pocketbook speaks louder than the wishes of his constituents, then democracy provides a solution. When a senator is guided by campaign contributions instead of what is right, then there is a solution. When money talks and influences votes, then the ballot box speaks louder. It just takes a little longer.

So if we have to suffer the ignorance and charlatanry of the few spineless ones who now walk the Capitol corridors, so be it. They each come up for re-election, and it is now up to us to exercise our more powerful right. The right to kick the bastards out. We now know what makes them tick, and we don't like what we see.

Michael A. Nayor