Editor: Not to be melodramatic, but I cannot prevent thinking about William Butler Yeats’ lines in his masterful poem, “The Second Coming,” “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold: Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”

He was, of course, referring to the apocalypse, and we are witnessing the disintegration of a political party. Our parties and our politics are precious in this country. We cannot sustain democracy if we don’t have the dynamic of difference — discussion, disagreement, compromise — that is in a very real sense who we are.

And now it seems that there isn’t a Republican Party — while about 15 candidates compete for the GOP’s presidential nomination. Was there no one to tell the seekers that it was not useful to have a huge crowd from the same party vying for attention and financial support? And now what used to be the Republican Party — the majority party — apparently has no one interested in taking the position of speaker of the House. No one believes that he or she can speak for — let alone negotiate for — what used to be a major political party.

I am a Democrat but I cannot rejoice in this debacle because the two-party system is a basic element in our identity and culture as a nation. In a very secular way, we need a savior to restore the balance of parties that makes us a democratic society.

Can the Republican Party reinvent itself as a functional entity? Has the monetization of politics become the party’s undoing? Why are the front-runners without political experience or policies? If the factions of the party cannot resolve their differences internally, how can they act effectively against a rival?

Is the medium the message, as theorist Marshall McLuhan suggested in the 1960s? Is it all just theater?

Letters to the Editor, Times-Tribune, October 18, 2015

Theater of absurd