I feel, for the first time in many years, that I have been rather naive about American democracy. I thought the election of President Obama represented some sort of turning point — for the good. I thought our independent judiciary and free press were powerful guardrails against the excesses of corruption and autocracy that we have long criticized in other countries.
When I read this Atlantic article about Paul Manafort, I see how naive I’ve been.
This is a hard article to read. It makes the political system in the United States sound suspiciously like any autocracy run by big money. Koch network, anyone? Manafort’s kind of corruption is what you usually think of in places like Ukraine and Angola, not this country.
We do have honorable politicians. Our Washington Senator Patty Murray is one. Rochester’s Representative Louise Slaughter is another. But they are few and far between.
There is a lot of rebuilding to be done, and I’m not sure we’ve yet hit rock bottom where a commitment to rebuilding can take shape.