IF THERE is one thing most people can agree on, it’s that our political process has seized up — and it should be equally obvious that Congress is the shattered gear at the center of the problem.
This year, The Boston Globe’s Washington reporters have chronicled the many dysfunctions that beset our democracy in a compelling series entitled “Broken City: Politics in an Age of Paralysis.”
It’s easy to come to see the sorry state of affairs they’ve documented as the new and irremediable normal.
But we shouldn’t. American politics has always been a contact sport, yet during the decades when the Soviet Union loomed as a dire threat to the West, our political system performed well enough to lead the free world in meeting the challenges of that era. Now, with that threat removed and nothing nearly as ominous replacing it, US governance has deteriorated into a period of regular brinkmanship, showdowns, cliffs, and crises.
“I think we are at a low point in the quality of modern American politics,” says Cal Mackenzie, a professor of government at Colby College. “I don’t think we could create a system that is more dysfunctional than the one we have now.”
You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month
Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.
- High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
- Convenient access across all of your devices
- Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
- Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
- Less than 25¢ a week