Letter to the Editor – Presidential Election Reaches Watershed on US Future

President Obama and his Republican challengers all believe we’ve reached a watershed on the kind of country the United States will be.  Such watersheds are by definition consequential but have been part of our history, so another one isn’t surprising.  What choices confront us now?

The first seems to be will rancor intensify.  Rancor has been typical but you might’ve thought we would outgrow our historical and hysterical prejudices given the twin miracles of knowledge and the melting pot, but fear of loss from the current brush with Depression called for a powerful palliative.  Obama hatred fits that need, so does immigrant hatred (notwithstanding our history) and women’s rights hatred.  And superimposed is the class warfare perpetrated by those (some, not all) that should’ve been grateful for the opportunity of financial success but are Scrooge-like instead, reluctant to tithe society for their opportunity or to extend such opportunity to others.

Racial, cultural and sexual insecurity would seem at odds with job creation, so why is there debate?  Because we are a two party democracy by and large, and both parties lost their way.

Democrats lost their way without big issues to tackle.  Roosevelt restrained bully capitalism and defeated fascism; Truman restrained communism and built prosperity buffer states in Western Europe and Japan; Kennedy confronted a Soviet Union that made more of its German scientist POWs than the U.S. did; and Johnson rid us finally of Great Depression and slavery hangovers.

Today’s Democrats (except Obama) seem unable or reluctant to find new dragons to slay.

Leaving the field to the small-minded (Robertson, Norquist, the Koch brothers, et al) with their dogwhistles in service of class and culture warfare waged on behalf of elites.  Restricting unions and the vote.   Going about fully armed.  Denying science.  Attacking gays, sex and women.

Republicans came to power, promptly abused it then panicked when Wall Street melted down.  But then they found the Tea Party, and that god, guns and government interference were fears a robber baron leadership could use to preserve, even increase, their influence, and whip up a base of Luddites and a mindless religious right that believes in a world less than 4000 years old.

Our postwar prosperity came not from god, guns or privilege but from Eisenhower infrastructure and Nixon regulatory and foreign policy initiatives (and IBM and AT&T busting), and then from giving smart people a chance to rise above their origins.  Silicon Valley, once home to defense contractors, is now a knowledge and culture amalgam and innovation engine.

Virginia could be, too, if its Republicans stopped looking at the past and the Bible for inspiration.

What’s next?  Left to conservative Republicans, we’ll be a culture of hypocrites and misogynists.  Not focused on the meaningful hows of being competitive globally and geopolitically, on space exploration and exploitation, the global rights and prosperity of peoples, on enjoying women as life partners and equals, or on the profound appreciation that salvation for country and planet comes from science not prayer or religion.

So.  Cue the dog-whistles and insultmongers?  Or find the Higgs Boson, unlock the secrets of stem cells and strengthen the middle class?  And maybe vote Obama?


Donald Marro

The Plains, Virginia


  1. Another View says:

    Oh where to start, where to start, when Mr. MArro offer up such a bountiful feast? How about this . . .

    It is not hatred or rancor to deplore a President who in tandem with a Democrat Congress, has run up a debt that threatens to destroy our currency, and wipe out individuals’ net worth and financial security.

    It is not hatred or rancor to deplore a President, who in tandem with a Democrat Congress, effectively nationalized two (2) automobile companies, pouring taxpayer dollars into union coffers and stiffing bondholders, in violation of more than a hundred years of bankruptcy law, not to mention the United States Constitution.

    It is not hatred or rancor to deplore a President who in tandem with a Democrat Congress, imposed a national health insurance mandate on the American people, in defiance of their wishes, and the Constitution, taking the power to dictate to private parties what they will provide, what they will buy and what they will receive, in violation of the United States Constitution.

    It is not hatred or rancor to deplore a President who decrees that some folks will pay for others’ contraceptives, irrespective of the providers’ wishes, conscience or religious belief, or the recipients’ need.

    It is not hatred or rancor to condemn a President who acts unilaterally to place individuals in positions of power without the Senate’s consent, in violation of the United States Constitution.

    It is not hatred or rancor to condemn a President whose Justice Department acts to punish his political enemies and fails to enforce the laws.

    It is not hatred or rancor to condemn tyranny far greater than that imposed upon our forebears by King George III.

    And it is not ignorance or bigotry to look to the past, to the ideals that led to the creation of the greatest governing document ever–our Constitution, to the notions of freedom and liberty first recognized at Runneymeade, and which remain relevant today, and to the Bible, which commanded individual action, responsibility and charity toward others, as opposed to the institution of mandatory government programs.

    We come from a great and distinguished lineage. Americans should look to Washington with disgust, and act to reclaim our birthright. And those actions would be consistent with our greatest traditions.

  2. Tony Parrott says:

    Don, I have some news for you. You don’t have to be a Republican to believe in God (again, this word is capitalized); actually a lot of people with no party affiliation believe in God. I kind of feel sorry for you as it must be hard to get up every day to a world where you hate so many people. Your belief that Republicans or conservatives are raciest, strapped with a gun, hate their wife, and have no intelligence is just pitiful.

    Frankly I’m tired of your “I’m better than you” propaganda and attack of religious folks such as me and my family.
    Lastly I’ll leave you with the words of another great American: ‘If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.’