Letter: We’re living through historically poor era of government

Jul. 01, 2014 @ 05:52 PM

Editor,

If you study U.S. history, you will find several eras of incredibly poor government, lots of crass politics, self-serving leadership, and weak moral character coupled with a fanatical drive. Unfortunately, we are living through one of these times.

Eventually these “holier than thou” politicians will be relegated to the trash bin of history. This was written by a reader in response to The New York Times editorial on Benghazi Congressional hearings, “Center Ring at the Republican Circus,” May 8, 2014.

This summer is the 50th year since “Freedom Summer” began in 1964. The target was the heart of the segregated and ultra racist south, Mississippi. What unfolded was indecent and immoral. Fifty years hence finds the high turnout of African American crossover voters in a Mississippi US Senate Republican primary the likely reason a somewhat moderate candidate defeated a tea party challenger. This is taking place in a state that has joined twenty one others in which voter ID and suppression laws passed by Republican lawmakers make it more difficult for minorities, people of color, to vote. The citizen councils are gone, the KKK is no longer thousands strong, churches are no longer bombed, marchers are not beaten and freedom workers are not murdered. People 50 years ago denied the fundamental right to vote have made a profound difference in an election of the party which has now become the party of exclusion. Everything has changed, yet nothing has changed.

Contrary to generic labeling, Congress is not broken. Within Congress is a virus contaminating public opinion and the body itself. Those shouting tyranny are themselves the perpetrators. Six years of unprecedented obstruction in which no issue has been so big that it can’t be ignored has now led to talk of impeachment and suing this President for over-reaching his authority. This is being considered by a Speaker of the House that has presided over the least productive Congress in this nation’s history. If this deliberate inaction wasn’t so devious, it could be called laziness.

The ghosts of 1964 Mississippi are at work. The hate that filled the hearts and minds of those segregationists and racists has found a reason to hate again – this President. This is, or was, never about policy disputes or disagreements, but race. As President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Bill in 1964, he forecast a backlash against those that supported it. That backlash is renewed and refreshed in today’s Republican Party.

Bill Dayton

Sevierville