"A republic, madam, if you can keep it."
As an old retired political science professor and a proud leftie, I must admit I've often been disappointed with President Obama's efforts to run to the middle and reach out to a Republican congress which is absolutely unwilling to engage in constructive compromise. Also I would have liked his stimulus efforts to have been more forceful. But, I have come to the conclusion that the danger posed by the Republicans in this year's election are far too great for anyone who believes in democracy to simply pout and sit this one out. We'd only be punishing our country.
What has happened to the Republican Party recently is both frightening and chillingly reminiscent of Germany in the 1930s. Is the witches brew of fear, hate and lies - repeated by the FOX News until it become absolute "truth" for the Tea Party minions - much different in style from that of Hitler's "Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda," Joseph Goebbels? It doesn't matter that most Tea Partiers are sincere, well-meaning folks who actually talk about defending the constitution. They are being used by the Koch brothers and the super rich to promote narrow, very undemocratic interests. We simply must roll back their gains in state and national legislatures.
But the presidential race is equally crucial. The next president will probably have to nominate replacements for aging progressives on the Supreme Court. That increasingly right wing body has already given us such un-democratic outrages as Bush V. Gore and Citizens United. And, though Justice Roberts surprised us this year by sustaining the Affordable Heath Care Act, many feel he did that to give himself credibility for the really big one - overturning the Voter Rights Act of 1965. We can't allow that to happen!
All this is why I, usually shamefully lazy about grass roots politics, will be very active this year. I urge like-minded citizens to join me. Remember that Benjamin Franklin, when asked in 1787 what kind of a government the Constitutional Convention had just designed, replied: "A republic, madam, if you can keep it." Well, now's the big test. Our republic is truly in danger. Let's get in there and fight this election!
Professor Emeritus, Political Science