Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 | 2:01 a.m.
Ten score and 17 years ago, our first president warned us against the “frightful despotism” that would arise from political parties to the detriment of “public liberty.” He warned us that individuals and parties would begin to look out for their own interests over the interests of our country and our people. These people and parties would look for ways to manipulate the political process to their own ends.
For example, more Americans (1.7 million more) voted for Democratic candidates than for Republicans in the 2012 elections for the House of Representatives. The 50 percent of Pennsylvania voters who voted for Democrats are represented by 28 percent of their state’s representatives (5 out of 18). The mandate of the people was denied by the political machinations of the power elite.
It takes money and power to manipulate the political process of a nation as large as the United States of America. By manipulating the redistricting in a few states, a faction of the Republican Party brought the government of the most powerful nation on earth to a standstill. Not only has this redistricting allowed the minority party to usurp control of the House of Representatives, it has also led to a rise in extremism. Gerrymandered districts mean that most representatives are chosen in the primaries, rather than the general elections. This leads to representatives catering to a narrower electorate.
I once heard a quote that if you agree with all of your friends, you don’t have enough friends. Friends and countrymen can disagree; it’s what we do to reconcile those disagreements that will define our nation.