Threats to democracy

To The Editor,

The first rule of writing an opinion piece is to stick to one topic. This explains my recent absence from this space. The threats to democracy, the Constitution, and the rule of law, in both our country and state, have been coming so relentlessly of late that it has been hard to land on a single, most urgent one. Voter Suppression legislation is back on the table. Gerrymandering is still way out of hand. Corporate lobbyists are writing our labor and environmental laws. There will likely be a citizenship question on the upcoming U.S. Census. The Consumer Protection Agency is de-fanged. Decisions that affect us all are being made by the intemperate, the uninformed, and the self-dealing…. Surrounding it all: government of, by, and for the corporations, not the people.

Yet, there is a bright spot. The NC legislature has done something good. At every level of government, the two major parties have, for too long, made sure that no other party can have any real power. The state made a small exception to that when it allowed the Libertarian party to appear on the ballot in 1976. Very recently, the General Assembly allowed official recognition of the Green Party. Given current attitudes in our state’s lawmakers, I imagined that this was a shameless attempt to drain away liberal votes from the Democrats. It may have been. But I was glad to eat my words when, days later, the Constitution Party also made the list, even though it will likely dilute Republican support. If our state legislature, in its current configuration, can do something just and even-handed on this, maybe it can happen again. Keep watching.

John Hartman