OK, so that particular knowledge is nothing new. I have supported public financing in the past here. We need stricter campaign contribution limits. Citizens United needs to be overturned and unfortunately the only way to do that is through a Constitutional Amendment. Well unless we want to undermine our common law judicial system and deal with all the consequences that entails. It is bad enough we have a Supreme Court willing to flirt with that. Give them the opportunity and they will erase a century of progress.
So yeah, we get that our elected employees are for sale or at least for rent. What blew my mind, something I suspected but only just had confirmed, was just how for sale they were. Apparently it is perfectly legal to contribute to all the candidates in a given race. There was enough out there to suggest this, so I kind of already knew but having it confirmed gave me a huge headache. It is just so unbelievable that we could allow this to happen. Even the young man who confirmed this, someone generally very liberal and very smart, saw no problem with it. He gave me a few good reasons why within the context of it being legal it is necessary for donors to do so, but no good reason it should be legal. There are plenty of reasons for it to be illegal.
This is outright bribery. It gives the lie to the notion, the very argument of Citizens United, that money equals speech. This is not speech. This is not an expression of one’s political beliefs. How could it be when you are giving to two opposing ideas? This is influence peddling at its basest. This is buying access, something the vast majority of citizens cannot do. This is closing the halls of our democratic process to all but those who can afford entry, and we wonder why nothing ever gets done.
We talk about Fair Elections, and we talk matching funds, contribution limits and so on, but I never, ever read anyone discussing this particular wrinkle of it. I know part of the reason is that all sides of the issue do it and do not want to give up access, but that is, pardon my language, bullshit. We have an obligation to talk about this and to fight like hell to change it. This, quite frankly is why we need a public financed only campaign system.
Because without that any attempt to rectify this problem will only make it worse. Without it there is no way to keep one party from taking completely over when they get ALL of the campaign funds. Close the moneyed elites ability to give to both parties and they will choose one and that will be the only one we have anymore. Hello fascism.
Which is not a reason to not do it, but to do it right. We have to do away with campaigns as we know them. We have to get big money out of them by putting EVERYONE’s money into them equally. Make it whoever has the better ideas wins, not whoever gets the most air time because they are bought and paid for by their corporate masters. So yeah, there can be no middle ground.
I find myself increasingly agitated as I write this, because I find myself increasingly skeptical that this will be shared and that people will motivate on it. You need to let your neighbors, family, and friends know. You need to get out there, get angry and get heard. Yes, I know, you probably already knew they were giving to both sides, like I said, I suspected as much. But knowing that should enrage you enough to act. No more “oh the kids have recital that day,” or any other “I wish I could but.” I don’t care what your politics are, this should urge you to action. It doesn’t matter if you are a LGBT ally that will fight for my rights all the way or someone who hates my queer trans sexual ass, this should trump all that.
If you don’t get angry enough to get out there, to join rallies, offer rides those who couldn’t otherwise go, give to the non profits actually fighting to change this and so on, if you cannot be motivated to action knowing that the “special interests” you rail about are hedging their bets and keeping the rest of us out, then maybe you don’t deserve a democracy. I know that is harsh, but it is true. Don’t just talk among yourselves (though please, do that to, people need to be rallied) get out there and do! Otherwise we have already lost. Remember:
Never give up
never give in
the bastards win
We, all 300 million of us, are the boss, not the few who can afford to influence our elected employees’ careers. It is time we remembered that.