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Democratic values are rapidly disappearing

Jimmy Carter has recently said of the United States that “we do not now have a functioning democracy.”

As all now know, a signpost of democracy lost, or at the very least in profound crisis, is the National Security Agency program of spying on everyone. Yet, just recently, 94 Republicans and 111 Democrats voted for the Amash Amendment to limit the powers of the NSA.

Locally, however, Democrats Brian Higgins and Louise Slaughter, and Republicans Chris Collins and Tom Reed, opposed the amendment, as did 82 other House Democrats and 133 other House Republicans.

It may be said that in voting against this amendment to restrict NSA snooping, a large number of Congress members displayed a questionable commitment to democratic values. Sadly, when we look at today’s alternatives of Republicans and mainstream Democrats, we seem to find ourselves, respectively, between a rock and Jell-O.

Perhaps what really should happen is for congressional progressive caucus members – Democrats all, and almost all of whom voted for the amendment – to begin to stand for election as Independents. Most likely, only the strongest of them in their home districts could do this successfully. But perhaps such a movement might start us on the road to a real and needed People’s Democratic Party.

Gene Grabiner

Buffalo