Letters: Factionalism then, partisanship now

Re "'Fourscore' and today's politics," Opinion, Nov. 22

Ronald Brownstein compares the current "take no prisoners" attitude in politics to the factionalism that led to the Civil War. The label of "dysfunctional," now applied by most Americans to Congress, reflects citizens' belief that our lawmakers are incapable of negotiation. I wonder whether this is because of the belief that the republic is so permanent that it can withstand fierce partisanship?

It isn't slavery that now divides us but rather the constitutional question of our government's very purpose.

Perhaps, then, it would be helpful if the preamble to the Constitution were read to senators and representatives at the start of each session:

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Then, "All in favor, say 'Aye.'"

David Perlman

Laguna Beach

Brownstein denies that Obamacare heralds a "tipping point" but says it marks an "incremental" advance in this country's movement toward socialism (he calls it "redistribution"). Wordplay aside, our country continues to move from a time when minimally regulated capitalism could work its wonders. It's a transition sure to spark ever-worsening political turmoil.

Our population growth has slowed dramatically, affecting both consumer markets and the labor force. Our agricultural and industrial endeavors have exceeded the limits of environmental sustainability. Capitalistic abuses have proliferated.

Hence, ever more socialistic management of the economy has become essential. For example: immigration allotments (and selective non-enforcement of immigration laws), environmental protection laws, antitrust legislation and financial regulation and oversight.

It took incredibly bright political leaders to oversee America's past economic successes. Even more intelligence is needed to transition to more socialistic management of our economy. Whether such intelligence exists in Washington seems doubtful.

Devra Mindell

Santa Monica


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