The Washington Post

#DemocracyLives? Readers respond.

A lot of commenters suggest we've lost our democracy to special interests, that we now have a plutocracy of some form. I get that concern, though Post columnist Robert Samuelson had a compelling counter to it recently. He pointed out that, though special interests certainly win battles from time to time, the overwhelming majority of government largesse goes to the poor and the middle class.

Commenter james44 pointed to the irony of citing the advance of gay rights as a success of democracy in a week when North Carolinians may vote to enshrine a ban on gay marriage in their constitution. We don't know yet how that vote will turn out. I agree that if the referendum passed, it would be a case of majority rule working against minority rights. But I think you also need some historical perspective: Just ten years ago, such a ban would have gotten 70 or 80 percent support. That may not provide much comfort tomorrow night, but the trend of public opinion is toward tolerance.

Fred Hiatt is the editorial page editor of The Post. He writes editorials for the newspaper and a biweekly column that appears on Mondays. He also contributes to the PostPartisan blog.


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