Rancorous partisanship has just about brought our country to its knees, and we know it. The frustration reflected in Eric Pantsari’s Oct. 11 letter (“We need effective government”) and the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showing 60 percent of voters say “Fire them all” illustrate the hopeless anger that all but the extremist loonies are experiencing. Most officeholders are so deeply entrenched and awash in PAC money that removing them remains little more than wishful thinking.
There might, however, be ways out. A primary reason for the death-grip job security nearly all incumbents enjoy is straight-ticket voting. It would disappoint any thoughtful citizen to know how many people enter the polling booth and mindlessly pull a straight-party lever. There are many problems with our democracy that I don’t think the founding fathers could have imagined; this is surely one of them.
Beyond eliminating the straight-ticket options, I’d like to see ballots list candidates alphabetically. It might slow the lines some, but that’s nothing new around here. And it could force people to do a little homework and give some coherent thought to who deserves their vote.
I know, this is wishful thinking, too; but the howl of protest you could expect by everyone from John Boehner to Nancy Pelosi and Al Sharpton to Grover Norquist would certainly make it worth a try.