Reader's view: US has become a can’t-do nation
An "In Response" column on March 12 tried to rebut my contention in a column Feb 24 that our Constitution needs more democracy. The column's extremely interesting history lesson was, however, entirely irrelevant. No one denies that the Constituti...
An “In Response” column on March 12 tried to rebut my contention in a column Feb 24 that our Constitution needs more democracy. The column’s extremely interesting history lesson was, however, entirely irrelevant. No one denies that the Constitution was marvelous for its day. But that day was the pre-industrial 18th century when few were educated and the former colonies were struggling to stay together on the edge of a largely unexplored continent. Is that framework of governance still adequate for the 21st century’s pre-eminent superpower? I think not.
Our country is a pitiful giant fettered by a Constitution that is virtually impossible to change and that allows a determined minority to frustrate the popular will. Even a hugely popular amendment like the Equal Rights Amendment ultimately failed of ratification.
Compared to other developed countries, our passenger trains, airport terminals, public transportation systems and health care coverage are deplorable. Even the maintenance of our infrastructure is ignored until bridges literally collapse and take lives.
And forget about addressing global problems like climate change, overexploited fisheries, nuclear proliferation and terrorism. We have become a can’t-do nation. Almost the only things we are still good at are building prisons and killing people with drones.
The writer went over the top in warning of my “dangerous and revolutionary ideology.” Since I did not advocate storming the Bastille or overthrowing the government, this must have been a reference to my shocking proposal that each citizen’s vote should count precisely the same. If it is elitist to think that people are more important than cows and that a city vote should count just as much as a country vote, then I happily plead guilty.
Ironically, on the same day the rebuttal appeared, a headline elsewhere in the newspaper proclaimed: “Popular anti-
trafficking legislation stalled amid partisan abortion debate.” I rest my case.
James J. Amato