... it is shameful that any person be required to stand in line for eight hours to cast a ballot, yet this is happening in Florida and elsewhere. It is shameful that election officials should be involved in efforts to make voting harder, rather than facilitate it. That private citizens be allowed, even trained, to stand guard at polling places to intimidate their fellow citizens. That armies of lawyers must be hired by both sides, in order to defend the rights of voters--or to challenge them. (It is also shameful that the Supreme Court of this country should countenance the flood of money that contaminates the electoral system, but that's another story.)
Before the world, we proclaim our democratic system to be the best that mankind has ever devised. And yet we offer to the world the spectacle of endless lines of voters frustrated in their efforts to cast a vote. We offer the spectacle of a congress hog-tied by the refusal of its members to reach compromise, a senate that can be halted in its tracks by the obstinacy of a single senator, a president stymied in every initiative by those who do not bother to disguise their irrational hatred for him and their expressed intention to do nothing but drive him from office.
I am angered by the argument of equivalence, which I hear so often these days: that "both sides do it." No, they don't. It's predominantly the rightists who are working to disenfranchise voters, and rightists who are responsible for a government that is reduced to virtual inaction on all important fronts. It is rightists who offer no compromise from outlandish positions on taxes or health care. It is rightists who, on the basis of no evidence but their own prejudice and willful ignorance, refuse to accept what science has to teach us. It is rightists who thump bibles and seek to impose their morality on every one of their fellow citizens.
We call ourselves, constantly, loudly, boastfully, "the greatest country in the world," and gladly preach our virtues to nations we look down upon from the lofty heights of our democracy. But our hypocrisy stands exposed by a media that broadcasts the images of these realities to a watching world.