State of American democracy sadly in decline, with need for better, unifying leadership

Posted 11 September 2023 at 9:25 am


I grew up in Orleans County in the 1960s and graduated from Albion High School in 1970. I retired from the USAF after 25 years of service and settled in south Texas. I follow the Hub and see an occasional letter to the editor that speaks to the state of our democracy.

I think there is little question that we are in a steady state of decline. Our politics have become so polarized with anyone trying to find conscious and middle ground being singled out and chastised by the fringes of both parties. At the federal level we have the three branches of government all of which at best are self-serving and ineffective and at worst corrupt and engaged in unethical and unlawful behavior.

We have members of Congress who are habitual liars, conspiracists and unprincipled leaders who refuse to rid the governing body from this poison. The Congress refuses to pass meaningful legislation to address gun violence, immigration reform, budgetary and debt reduction or any number of important issues.

The Supreme Court membership is now too far to right and proven to be less than truthful based on their testimony during confirmation hearings and then their votes regarding abortion rights. Perhaps the most glaring issue is Justice Thomas who repeatedly took favorable trips, vacations and sold properties to a right wing Texas billionaire. His wife is a former President Trump confidant and he sees nothing wrong with anything he does.

Chief Justice Roberts refuses to establish firm ethics policies and thumbs his nose at the Senate when they want to pass ethics rules for the court.

Lastly, the executive branch with current President Biden showing signs of advancing age and with a family member under attorney general investigation and running for a second term makes us think are there better candidates available.

The Republican Party seems hell bent on making former president Trump their candidate in 2024. The man has at least four felony indictments, some of which are undoubtedly justified. Maybe I am showing my bias but in my observation he facilitated the attack on the US capitol, he admittedly (his own words) tried to overturn the results of the previous election and he mishandled highly classified government documents.

Being a retired USAF colonel I happen to know quite a bit about handling classified information. What he did with the hoard of classified documents is inexcusable. If myself or any of my military colleagues were caught with top-secret classified information outside of line of sight and not in a secured area we probably would be court marshaled, perhaps lose our pension or worse.

He should get no free pass on this and honestly should be held at a higher standard. For this single reason alone he is unfit for the presidency.

So here we are with disfunction, lying and unethical behavior at every branch of our government. Can Congress do its job? Can the Supreme Court clean up its act and rule by law and precedence? Can one of the political parties find and promote a centrist candidate without a ton of baggage?

Would the polarized electorate elect such a person? As a member of the baby boomer generation I fear we failed our parents, the greatest generation, and future generations to come.

James Fraser,

Colonel, USAF retired

Garden Ridge, Texas