What’s wrong with government?
I know, you think you know the answer, but I’m pretty sure you don’t. Because the problem isn’t lobbyists, greedy politicians, lazy government workers or even Citizen’s United...
I realize, you may not want to hear that, but not wanting to hear something doesn’t make it any less true. (Or entitle you to an “alternative” truth.)
If you don’t care or you care more about being right and blaming others than solving the problem, then just stop reading now. This piece will be a waste of your time.
But if you do care…if you’re horrified or even scared about the direction our government is currently headed and you want to do something about it...like really do something....then it’s time for a long hard look in the mirror. Because...
Our government was designed to be responsive to the will of its people.
It’s true. The Founding Fathers did not include term limits in the Constitution, because they believed elections and the simple fact that elected officials would want to get reelected, would make them responsive to the will of their constituents. They, however, also expected, that we — “the people” — would take our government as seriously as they did.
We do not take government seriously.
Good Morning. Go Vote. I'm serious.
Ever wonder why certain special interest groups -- like the NRA -- have so much influence over elected officials? I'll give you a hint: it's because their membership can be counted on to vote.
I know. I know. They also give a lot of money, but I'm going to let you in on a little secret that even my politico friends have to acknowledge.... Money has no direct power in politics. Yes, I know that sounds naive, but bear with me... Politicians aren't using campaign contributions to buy boats or trips to Rio. (Although - let's be honest - politicians who rail against money in politics don't mind if you think that's what their opponents are doing.) Instead, all that money is going to buy ads, mailings and get out the vote operations (or - in some cases - suppress the vote operations).
In other words, campaign cash has power because it buys a candidate/elected official the "theoretical ability to influence votes." And, do you know what has more power than the theoretical ability to influence voting? Actually voting.
Now, if you really want to push back on money in politics, then you should cast an educated ballot. In other words, don't let your vote be influenced by all of those campaign ads and slogans (Hint: the more you see an ad aired and the better its messaging, the more money that campaign likely has.) Take an hour or two to research all of the candidates and ballot measures in your district and take the cheat sheet into the voting booth with you (It's not a test, you're allowed.) And voila - if all those campaign ads stop influencing elections, then they no longer have power...Yeah, I know it's not that simple, but it's a start.
Beyond that, if you really want to make your vote count, take a picture of yourself and your "I voted" today sticker and let people know what influenced your vote (e.g. write your elected officials, blog, tweet, etc.) Let elected officials know what influences your vote...get enough like minded people to do the same and guess what? You've got yourself an influential special interest group. ; )
OK. Sorry for the rant, but every time I get an email from a candidate railing about the power of money in politics, I get ticked...and I get a lot of them so, now I'm really, rather ticked. I'm not just ticked because talking about the power of money in politics is largely a ploy to get me to give money, (seriously, what better way to get people to give money than to convince them money has power?) but because it leaves average, non-monied, voters with the impression that the system is stacked against them and there's no point getting involved...or even voting. Which is the exact opposite message we should be sending, because the single best way to push back on money in politics is to vote. So, please, go vote. I'm serious, it matters.
OK. Rant ended. Thanks for reading.