Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Campaign finance reform: we the people or we the money?
Politics is always in a state of flux & evolution. It is clear we are in a time of sharp division in the us. The dems & pubs are sharply polarized.. mostly in the area of size of govt & spending. There are individuals, groups, unions, corporations, pacs, & any other entity you can name for either side, & money flows for both. Some money is given for ideological reasons.. the donor believes their party or ideology is best for the nation & the future. Other money is given for favors. The donor expects a return on their investment.. an appointment.. a tax break.. a grant or loan.. a vote for a favorable bill.. some kind of payback is expected for supporting the candidate. And the candidate knew this when accepting the donation, that payback would be required. It was not written out in a contract.. that would be overt corruption.. but verbal promises were given, & it is still corruption.
I don't think most people mind political donations based on ideology.. that is how it should be.. each issue can be debated on its merits, & people can make up their own minds. Distortions & sneaky propaganda tactics will still be used, but we trust the electorate to see through the deceptions & arrive at a reasonable balance of truth.
But when donations are made for political favors, there is no ideology. People donate for a financial return. Money is given not for stands on issues, but to corrupt the system for financial gain. This is bad for our political process, as there are hidden agendas. Arguments are not made to persuade people on issues or ideology, but to fleece the taxpayers. THAT is the problem in our election process, & always has been in democracies. Money follows the power, & power the money.. we need to have some system of checks & balances, and some way to limit conflicts of interest.. or at least expose it.
This should be something we agree on.. open, fair discourse where the ideals can be discussed, and then the voters decide. But it seems to me that fairness in campaign finances is not the goal of the politicians. They live by corruption & favors.. at least a lot of the high level ones seem to. And we've gotten so used to it, we think it is a normal thing, & that the culture cannot be changed. But we can change it. Our focus should not be on the amount of money given, but by whom & for what reason. The more corruption we can ferret out, the better the democratic process. The more we can let ideals be the motivation for our political process, the better. When it is money, we all lose.