Anyone who reads some of the incendiary letters to your newspaper must be aware of the Republican Party’s pandering to racists and bigots of various stripes. The party is often anti-union, anti-black, anti-gay, anti-women and anti-science.
Our Congress is totally dysfunctional. Alexis de Tocqueville, in his masterful critique of American democracy, warned of the danger of the tyranny of the majority. We are now witnessing the tyranny of the minority, a motley crew of Tea Party extremists in the House of Representatives, who work their will to back legislation or shut down government, their purpose not to govern but to obstruct. They are abetted by Speaker John Boehner, who is more concerned with keeping his job than with governing.
Republican politicians in state governments have managed to gerrymander so that their party now has a comfortable majority in the House despite the demographics. They enacted laws that discourage poor blacks from voting after the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act. After the slaughter of the innocents in Newtown, I thought a background check law for guns would sail through Congress since 90 percent of Americans were for it. I was wrong. Money and the NRA trumped the people.
When Benjamin Franklin emerged from a meeting of the Continental Congress, he was confronted by a woman who asked him what the members had decided. He answered, “A republic, madam, if we can keep it.” Have we kept it? Or do we have the trappings of a republic but in essence a de facto plutocracy, the rule of the rich?