Sunday, August 01, 2004

The Trouble With Politics...Is Money!!!

The trouble with politics and the entire “democratic” process is that there is far too much money involved. This is especially true for both the Democratic and the Republican Parties, mostly because they each have plenty of money, and less true for the smaller parties, such as the Green Party, Libertarians and others, because they have rather little money. The odds of a third party candidate being elected president are virtually nil, and one of the reasons is that they simply don’t have the billions of dollars to spend on advertising that the big guys have. Another reason is that a lot of voters just don’t have the guts to vote for someone who “has no chance of winning”. Sure, in this country, anyone can be president, as long as they first are rich. Despite campaign finance reform in recent years, there is still plenty of money being thrown around at the conventions and during the campaigns. Some of this money is not given directly to the candidates or their political parties, but instead is used to “wine and dine” the candidates and others. During the Democratic Convention last week, ABC News covered some of the “extra-curricular activities”, huge expensive parties thrown by heads of corporations and other rich folk to entice various politicians to vote “their way” or to at least get their cause heard in Washington. Some of these parties were actually going on during the convention when the attendees should have been out on the convention floor!! We are paying these people to represent us but instead they are going to parties!! (I am only picking on the Democrats here because their convention has already happened…I’m sure the Republicans will be no better). What it comes down to is that those of us who don’t have a lot of money to give to the candidates don’t count for much of anything. Yes, they need our vote to get into office, and they will say and do virtually anything and spend oodles of money to get that vote. But once in office, we are like the proverbial “chopped liver”. They don’t need us anymore and couldn’t care less about us. We might as well walk to the edge of the earth and fall off into space; it wouldn’t matter to them. Once they get rich and powerful, they no longer know or care what it’s like not to have money and power and they no longer care about those who don’t have money and power.

We call this nation a Democracy, but as I see it, it is a Democracy for the rich, and basically a dictatorship for the poor. We are lulled into thinking that we can have some say in the making of laws and policy. We can write letters to our elected officials (be sure to enclose a big hefty check though!!) Unless we find some way to separate the money from the political process, we will never again have a government “ of the people, for the people and by the people”.


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