Saturday, October 20, 2012

Money in Politics

If you ask me what the biggest problem in our political system is (and there are many, of course), I would tell you that there is too much money.  Too much money in the election process and too much money in the legislative process.  Special interest groups spend a ridiculous amount of money to lobby Congress to get their bills passed, or our bills shut down.  Corporations spend money on politicians' campaigns and then, in turn, those politicians pass the kind of legislation promoted by said corporation or special interest group.  And then, in another kind turn, that company hires the politician after their time in office and gives them a great salary and wonderful benefits package.  Win/win/win.  For everyone but you and me.

There is a lot of focus on voter suppression (voter ID) this election season.  I've yet to see a report where election fraud is an actual problem.  Someone told me that there was a gentleman who got caught voting four times.  Let me say this:  1.  He got caught.  2.  Four misvotes does not a national crisis make.  We have actual issues to solve; this is a complete waste of our energy.

Do you know that our electronic voting machines are corporately-owned?  Right. They're not even owned by us, the taxpaying citizen.  Tonight, I saw a story that alleges Tagg Romney (Mitt's son) is part investor in a company that owns a block of voting machines in swing states.  Fishy?  You tell me. 

I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I'm not making this up (and don't automatically assume I'm wrong because I'm a liberal.  I have many conservative/libertarian friends who understand this issue well and who absolutely agree with me).  We don't even own our own voting machines.  Because that wouldn't turn a profit...heaven forbid. 

This past year, the United States Supreme Court basically said that the government cannot limit the spending by special interest groups in the election process (Citizens United).  Brilliant.  Money buys advertising, and advertising works.  We're very gullible people, programmed to believe what we see and hear at face value, partly because we're lazy, partly because we're fearful of the truth, and frankly, partly because we have access to so much's simply too hard to wade through.

I believe in a democracy as it was intended.  I want my voice to be equal to the voice of each and every American citizen.  I want to discuss the merits of a particular piece of legislation without worrying that it's being purchased and paid for by someone who has no interest in the welfare of America, but in the welfare of the almighty profit.  Once again, it's my humble and very resolute opinion that the bottom line is not the only way to measure success.

If you are even the slightest bit intrigued by my position on this (even if you think I'm blowing smoke), I suggest you look into it.  At the risk of being an alarmist, I'll say this:  The only way we're going to change what's happening here is by getting involved. And we need to do it now, before it's too late.  Let not our democracy be for sale.

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