Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsLong Beach

'Incompetents at Helm of State'

April 14, 1988

McFarlane raises the "blame the victim" strategy of courtroom defense to a new level of audacity. He argues that we--the electorate--are partly responsible for the Iran-Contra scam because it's the electorate who have put the incompetents in positions of leadership. Having examined his conscience, he finds there the conviction that his admitted culpability is surely not "all there is to it"--and he abjures us to consider our own sin. "Why," he begs us reflect, "did the electorate give us these men and not better ones?"

Like everyone who's been in Washington in an official capacity for more than a week, McFarlane has forgotten that the electorate has very little choice in the matter. Presented in November with the names of two candidates--either or both of whom may be an incompetent, a nonentity, a psychopath or all of the above--we do the best that we can, but we can't exercise a choice that we're not given. Flattering as it may be to the egos of the boys and girls who get to play in the national sandbox to believe that they have been called to greatness by the imploring voice of the people, the fact is that most of us just invest our interest in the less unattractive of the sow's ears we're offered.

As The Times reported the day after McFarlane's article appeared, an overwhelming majority of the American people--for more than 30 years--has wanted to see the selection of presidential candidates taken out of the hands of the major political parties. Presumably the electorate would prefer to see candidates for Congress and for state office chosen through a wide-open, nonpartisan primary system as well, but--as I say--what the electorate prefers has very little to do with what the electorate gets.

This (not "apathy") is the reason why most Americans eligible to vote do not vote and why the percentage that does vote gets smaller every election year. McFarlane's impudently disingenuous attempt to share the blame for his crimes with the citizens whose trust he betrayed is just one more reason to stay home on Election Day again this year.

J.L. JONSSON

Long Beach

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|