To the Editor:
Might I suggest that at the national level, this country may actually be attempting to work itself out of a pickle of our own making begun over 40 years ago?
The pickle is that much of what has occurred during those approximately 40 years is the result of us – Americans – not having paid attention and having taken our democracy for granted for far too long. We have been persuaded that the best government is that which governs least. We have been persuaded to leave the “business” of democracy to our elected representatives and we have become cynical. Seemingly we have forgotten that the broad business of democracy is ensuring the most equitable and fair civic treatment for all Americans, regardless of social and/or economic status – it is not to grant “favors” that raise any one group of people – however defined – above any other group of people. In sports it is called having “a level playing field.”
We are very much at a crossroad. Over several decades, one of our two longstanding political parties has stealthily, albeit cleverly, insinuated its political and economic policies into American culture and taken control of the governance of the United States. On Jan. 6, there was an effort to seize control absolutely. That effort continues in the current fight to dismantle voting rights for everyone other than those who favor oligarchy, autocracy and a return to the days of the antebellum South.
The possibility of oligarchy and autocracy may be closer than anyone thinks. How and why, for example, have national infrastructure needs gone so unaddressed for so many decades? Why are approximately 50 percent of our elected Congress people millionaires and whose interests are of most importance to many of them? Why do we permit “dark money” in politics and the anonymity of political giving? Why do so many major corporations pay little, or no, income taxes? Why has the median income of most working Americans been basically stagnant for far too long? Why are there ongoing efforts to turn what should be purely governmental functions and responsibilities – think USPS, Social Security and Medicare – over to private industry? Are the courts next? How about police and fire services? How about our national defense? And, of course, there is the insanity of “Citizen’s United,” which essentially says that those having more money are entitled to more democracy and gives “personhood” to corporations.
The mere fact that a distinctly minority party – the Republican party – controls the state houses and governorships of a remarkable number of states and has “gerrymandered” those states to give Republicans unfair advantages in maintaining control via the gross manipulation of voting rights is – no pun intended – pungently anti-democratic.
To my own mind, any political party that comes to believe that its own retention of power is of more importance than the continuation of this democracy as birthed by the Founding Fathers and the Constitution – taking into account, of course, the extraordinary changes that have occurred with respect to population, urbanization, technology, manufacturing, science, farming, etc., since 1776 – is deeply troublesome. Those who believe that Jan. 6, 2021, was not an insurrection might want to rethink their position.
To an unfortunate degree, the broad responsibility for that insurrection lies with us all.