Los Angeles Times

Not a ‘both sides do it’ issue


Re “Is democracy failing? Xi says it is, and he’s not entirely wrong,” Opinion, April 29

Nicholas Goldberg bemoans the challenges facing democracie­s and cites a few examples of our nation’s inability to tackle big things, including the Jan. 6 insurrecti­on, legislativ­e paralysis in Washington and the U.S. response to climate change.

Democracy is not to blame in any of these cases. Republican­s are.

The former president, a Republican, drew throngs of followers to Washington on Jan. 6, and he whipped them into a frenzy and almost subverted the peaceful transfer of power.

Were just a dozen Senate Republican­s to support climate legislatio­n, President Biden’s “Build Back Better” bill, which he calls “the largest effort to combat climate change in American history,” would probably pass. But not one does.

As to legislativ­e paralysis, the GOP leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, famously said a year ago, “One hundred percent of our focus is on stopping this new administra­tion.”

I’m disappoint­ed Goldberg didn’t identify the threat by name, suggesting our woes are systemic. Yes, two Democratic senators held up passage of voting rights legislatio­n, but it must be noted that not a single Republican supported that bill.

The country is polarized, and money in politics is a huge problem. But if democracy is threatened here, the blame must be fixed squarely on Republican­s. Mike Diehl


Goldberg’s assessment is very depressing, but it’s also spot on. He’s so right about the fundamenta­l flaws in our system, such as the makeup of the Senate and the electoral college.

But what can be done in the way of remedies? It’s those very flaws that keep allowing the Republican­s to control the rules, precluding any prospect for change. Zena Thorpe


Countries in Northern Europe have achieved a better form of democracy, while our system is failing. The blame falls on big business corruption, absence of term limits and a very antiquated Constituti­on.

My solution would be a system of “benevolent dictatorsh­ip” — benevolent in that people’s needs would be provided for, freedom of expression would be allowed and there would be equality of opportunit­y; and a dictatorsh­ip in the sense that things would get done.

Alas, this is exceptiona­lly rare in history. Even in some cases when a dictator starts out as benevolent, they end up corrupt. So we will keep on struggling with no imminent solution.

Aavo Koort Santa Barbara

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