When my grandfather Whitney returned from the Civil War, he became a Republican. He was a carriage painter from Mexico New York who believed that all men were created equal. So, ever since the Civil War ended my family was Republican.
I emerged from Syracuse University's Maxwell school of Citizenship and Public affairs with a PhD and a different attitude. While I'm an independent, these days voting Republican would be like joining in with those who don't care if they damage the Republic, as long as they get their way.
John McCain, who has proved to me he cares more about America then in feathering his own nest, said the shutdown and fight over the debt ceiling was a "shameful" incident in congressional history. He, of course, is right.
The last 20 years have shown how difficult it is to run a Federal system in a gerrymandered world. Republican primaries in safe districts involve proving who is the biggest wacko.
The days when the leaders of both parties decided the future of our nation over bourbon and branch water seem like a mythical trip down memory lane.
We didn't need the world wondering whether we would destroy the economic system by defaulting. We resemble a banana republic attached to a political system with which we were justly proud. Pretty soon, I assume we won't be the world's reserve currency. It will be harder to borrow to pay for our massive debt. The tea party, which seems to want a world in which minorities are second-rate citizens and the poor are starving on the streets, can take credit for diminishing the United States.