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Controlling Congress

June 19, 1988

The morning after Election Day, I felt deep, almost sick depression, not so much as to the result but as to the process. In the Republican primary, we in the 40th District and our comrades in the 42nd District to the north just elected our "kings for life." At my age it is highly unlikely that I will ever again have a chance to participate in the selection of a representative in Congress. It's over.

David Broder in a recent column in the Washington Post lamented that the Democrats have had control of the Congress for the last 34 years and that 98% of all incumbents over this period of time have been reelected. His comparison of this phenomenon to the Soviet system is startling. What Broder fails to note is that it is not merely the Democrats who ensure their reelection. Almost half of that 98% incumbency is Republican.

The fact, my friends, is that our deep belief that we live in a democracy is an illusion. Except for isolated incidents such as we have just experienced in the 40th and 42nd districts, the biannual congressional elections are purely ministerial. The results are preordained.

If you stop and think about it, you might agree that a subconscious awareness of this fact may be what creates the immense popularity for Ollie North. North and his gang have nothing but contempt and ridicule for the Congress and the system established by the Founding Fathers.

That's why I am depressed.

CHARLES E. McCLUNG

South Laguna

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