From personal experience, and from the sidelines as an informed observer it’s clear that our political system as it sits (not stands- for that would be almost noble) is now fully populated by the best politicians money can buy- while a vast majority of Americans are now only capable of purchasing the bare necessities- at Wal-Mart.
If you are the CEO of any “publicly owned” company (which is now a laugh since a majority of people only “own” stock through payments to large insurance companies- most of which are no longer Mutuals, but are now also “publicly owned”, and or their pension funds- which are increasingly being under funded) you are in a position to buy legislation favorable to your industry- through lobbyists (a luxury that the general public used to believe were one and the same as the politicians they elected) that will guarantee that you don’t have to “suffer” through being held accountable for your lousy performance while losing market share, laying off thousands of workers, going off-shore to produce anything and everything and cutting benefits that used to provide the American worker with a standard of living that was the envy of the rest of the world.
No, unless you have money, you don’t have a voice in Washington- or any office in our country anymore, because it’s become very expensive to run for office. Media time alone can cost billions during an election year- and while the sound-bites are flying and the mud is slinging, the rest of America- the people who typically depend on advertising to sell their goods and services are locked out of affordable media time to get their message out.
So- what we need is massive price cut on the cost of elections. Why bother investing money in political campaigns in the first place when we could just have a giant Gov-Mart buy all the media en masse and dole it out according to a simple formula based on how many people you will serve? Make the playing field absolutely level. All the media ads will say is go to this website: Electables.gov and compare your choices online. The election is this date. Vote.
Online, every single candidate has to have had a blog (like this one) going for at least a year, expressing his or her position on the issues. That way, the public can actually determine how the candidates stand, and once elected- when they screw up, the public can comment and let them know. Lobbyists as we know it, would have to find a new line of work. Politicians would actually have to stand by what they say they would do. And maybe, we’d start getting the government we were once promised- that suggested we would be able to pursue life, liberty and happiness without having to be rich.
This post was brought on by two things- since it’s not quite election season (yet): Leonard Pitts gave an softly-stated, eloquent speech at UD last Wednesday against our loss of our Constitutional rights for supposed protection from “Terra- ists” where he stated that his body of work over the years makes it easier to determine his position on the issues is much clearer than that of our elected “leaders”; and a single paragraph from the Dayton Daily News “Other Voices” column of 8 Feb 2007 by Beth Lerman supporting bringing our troops home- where she said this:
“The least satisfying visit we made was to Rep. Mike Turner, R. Centerville. Three times I asked for his position on Iraq, and three times he refused to answer, saying he was there to listen to me, not the other way around.
I have no sense of where he stands on the war, other than he said he supports the troops – but we all do”
With the new, one low price political ad buy, and required political blogs- we would no longer have the problem of knowing where our “leaders” stand- and maybe we could get back to a true representative democracy. In the mean time, with 21 months to go, we’re heading right back into presidential election hell.
If we want a revolution, it needs to be by taking the process onto the Internet- where the playing field can be leveled. Yes, I know that someone will argue that everyone doesn’t have a computer- but, who said they had to have a TV?
For a lot less than the cost of just a few presidential election season, we could buy laptops for everyone, cover the country with Wi-fi, and change the way the political system doesn’t work in this country.
Either way, Gil Scott Herron had it right back in 1971, “The Revolution will not be televised”, because only the politician who has sold out to the highest bidder will be able to afford it. This is the only place where we need the economies of scale of a Wal-mart to step in and disrupt the market, or we’re all doomed.