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Country’s political problem is cultural


I love it. Our fearless correspondent and knower of everything, Bob McClellan, has finally crossed the Rubicon, by comparing Trump to Hitler, and the Republicans to the Nazis. I, too, am distressed with Washington, but I think that Bob is both misdirected and carries things too far (Current political environment dangerous to democracy, July 18, 2018).

When I went to college at Berkeley in the '50s, Eugene Burdick was a very popular professor there in the Political Science department. He had recently written a book that was a must read for all of us youngsters: The Ninth Wave. His thesis was that political power could be obtained by offering possible and probable followers an object of fear and hate. This approach has worked well over the years in many countries, and has only intensified in the United States.

So today, we are confronted with a system of tribal hatred and rivalry. Both parties go after each other tooth and nail. Their focus is primarily on gaining more power and defeating the other guys. As a result, they ignore the major problems we face, speak dishonestly to voters, and do anything for votes. Look at the current practice of negative political ads. Is Rosendale really such a horrible human being? Is Tester?

The problem seems to me to be a cultural one. Politicians from both parties are enemies, not respectful friends. They slam each other’s ideas regardless of merit. Real cooperation is off the table. The vast number of members of Congress claim to be faithful Christians or Jews. Where were they on the day their Sunday school teacher covered love thy neighbor as thyself? As a body, Washington is clearly dysfunctional, and, of course, the cost is borne all of us (including Bob McClellan.)

Jim Loebbecke


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