Have you ever been to a family reunion or BBQ where someone backs you into a corner and talks your face off? You can’t get a word in edge-wise and you look for a way to escape. This describes the 2012 election.
The “entity” that has us cornered is fixing to spend up to 10 billion dollars on political “messaging” designed to get us to twitch “right” or “left” on the ballot.
10 billion dollars is a lot of money. Over 90% of it comes from the wealthiest zip codes in the nation. Why all that spending? Is it to ensure that everyone has access to health care? That anyone who wants to work can find a job? That all people have a place to live, and that all children attend excellent schools? Not likely.
It’s more likely that the 10 billion dollars will go to elect politicians who yell “austerity!” and tell us we can’t afford all that, but will insist that we continue to spend a trillion dollars per year on wars and other “national security” contracting. Those same politicians will be excellent investments if they keep cutting taxes for the super rich while blocking all efforts to stop the legalized bribery we call “unlimited campaign contributions”. Recently the US Supreme Court decided that corporations have the right to make unlimited contributions anonymously, something regular citizens cannot do.
Talk about a one-way conversation! If money equals free speech, as the Supreme Court claims, how much free speech can you afford?
This election would be a good time for us to reclaim government of the people, by the people, for the people. How can we do that?
We can make one demand to every politician seeking our vote: fix the broken, legalized bribery we call “campaign contributions”. In 2010, the Fair Elections bill was proposed in the US Congress. It said that candidates who could solicit enough small donations from people in their districts or state to prove that they were serious would be eligible for $4 of public matching funds for every dollar of small contributions they raised. The money would come from ending Federal subsidies to the oil companies. Another bill called DISCLOSE would require that corporations disclose their donations to PACs, the groups that create all those “attack” ads.
#1 – We must demand that every candidate for Federal office pledge to support the Fair Elections Bill and DISCLOSE when they go back to Washington in 2013.
#2 – We must demand that every elected state official pledge to vote for a constitutional amendment ensuring that only living breathing people, not corporations, can make campaign contributions.
We can do this as individuals, but it’s better if we join with our neighbors to have a bigger voice. That is what this STAND Election Guide was designed to do. There is a local group in your community, distributing STAND to your neighbors. You can join them by contacting the Rural Organizing Project.