Please vote. Vote however your conscience and intellect tell you to vote. Not voting is no answer to the systemic problems I outline in this article. Not voting simply weakens the power of our representational democracy even further.
RSVP for Political Activism Calls
Join the Politics FACEBOOK GROUP here.
It can’t be very often that the root causes of complicated political problems are there, staring us in the face. I’d like to make a case that right now, in the United States, we’re avoiding that stare. We voters are no longer effectively represented by the politicians we elect. They go to Washington by the good graces of the electorate, but much more significantly, bankrolled by someone or some group. That money buys influence, often; and the more money, the more influence.
To some extent, it was always partly that way. Unfortunately, major differences have developed in the last fifty years. The difference glaring at us, is the huge cost of running longer and longer campaigns from which the media profits. Want to know why there is such an endless racket on TV and your computer screen around politics? It makes money. The money for ads – cars, shampoo – comes from grabbing our attention; so, we get attention-grabbing news sound bites and attention-grabbing candidates, instead of substance.
Then, there are the actual, very expensive political ads. The more of those the better for the media; all of the media – right, left and center.
Of course, most politicians have to raise money to pay for their endlessly long, extremely expensive campaigns. And the connection between those who give our politicians this money and the demands they make on those same politicians is called buying influence. It’s called corruption in any other place or time. Now, here, for a very sinister reason, it’s seldom called anything. Why? Because it’s the media that does the calling, and they’re in on the game – all of the media. They either ignore the issue or occasionally furrow their brows and point at PACs or lobbyists, never admitting to their own stake in the game.
Outline this problem to a friend, even the smartest, most enlightened friend you have, and you’re bound to get a blank stare. Maybe it’s an inherent problem in the contemporary world that we have to learn to absorb. After all, where do we, the people, turn if our politicians either can’t or won’t solve the problem? Where do we turn if the media is almost uniformly part of the problem? It will have to be a grassroots effort of some kind, right? How, and toward what end?
Other representational democracies have laws governing the length of time of campaigns and the amount of money that can be spent. That would solve the basic problem in the United States, but who is going to champion such a cause? The few anemic attempts at Campaign Finance Reform by earnest politicians in the past resulted in what we have now. It has to be assumed the various forces opposed to real reform of this corrupt system are vast and powerful.
An amendment to the Constitution seems necessary; not an easy task. Our founders were rightfully wary of weighing down our Constitution with bureaucratic detritus. But, how else do we solve such a fundamental crisis of government? The Constitution states that an amendment should be proposed either by the Congress with two-thirds approval in the Senate and the House of Representatives, or by a constitutional convention proposed by two-thirds of the State legislatures. Since our US senators and representatives seem unable to propose an amendment, can we turn to the alternate approach, state by state? It would be the first time an amendment has been proposed by constitutional convention, but these are desperate times.
At the very least, let’s identify the problem and not expect some miraculous fifth estate to emerge and shame our media or politicians or lobbyists into seeing the moral and ethical light. There is an amount of money involved in our electoral process now that makes this government corruption the absolute kind.
Our representational system is broken. We have to diagnose it as such and stop spinning around the seemingly endless symptoms; symptoms the media embraces as revenue gathering clickbait.
What’s your take on what you just read? Comment below or write a response and submit to us your own point of view or reaction here at the red box, below, which links to our submissions portal.
Join the Politics FACEBOOK GROUP here.
Photo credit: Pixabay