Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Twofer

The political version

     There is, as I’ve written, a great ideological divide in our country between progressives (aka liberals) and conservatives. My friends, relatives, and acquaintances divide, like the country, roughly in half. This being an election year, I hear a great deal from both sides, with the media joining in. What concerns me is that I hear next to nothing about how either side will go about healing our democracy, about making government work.
     Each side seems to believe that great improvements will come about by some undefined process when the opposition is eliminated—admits they’re wrong; gives up; takes the gas pipe. In other words, each side cops out.
     Even the most uninformed realized that we will have a government composed of both progressives and conservatives for as long as we live. So now what?
     It’s irresponsible, poor citizenship, to not include the views of the opposition when seeking to move forward. Ah, if only it were as simple as that. There’s an eight-hundred-pound gorilla in the way—MONEY.
     But, you’ve been reading my stuff; you know all about that. And, you’ll read more—believe it, or not, a few folks are going to use their ballots to protest special interest corruption.

Democracy lost

     There’s a nearly perfect system of special interest corruption in DC. Here’s how it works:
     Election campaigns are expensive. Any politician, with a hope of being elected, knows this, and most need to raise funds.
     Help is available in the form of special interests seeking to buy influence. They’ll even organize and run ‘individual donor’ campaigns, turning over the money along with a list of donor names.
     To keep everything ‘legal’ the politician promises nothing but takes the money.
     Politicians know that very few people switch sides (parties) between elections, and, even new voters are inclined to one side. They do not spend campaign money seeking to persuade voters to switch. Instead, they seek to rally their people to get out and vote. They seek to create fear, revenge, a sense of injustice, of outrage. The media (all biased to one side, or the other) join in. By election day, each side loathes the other—can’t wait to defeat them.
     Successful candidates arrive in DC grateful to the special interests who helped them and ready to earn their support for the next campaign and to show their voters how they’ll handle the opposition—those dirty rats.
     The special interests could care less (many contribute to both sides). They win, either way.
     The voters, on both sides, lose. All governing will be done primarily to please special interests with an occasional bone thrown to those, ever hopeful, progressives and conservatives.
     Your vote counts—without it, this system falls apart.


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