“Political parties exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people. From these great tasks both of the old parties have turned aside. Instead of instruments to promote the general welfare they have become the tools of corrupt interests, which use them impartially to serve their selfish purposes. Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics, is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.”
Oh my. Words of warning from our, 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt, over 100 years ago, and still disturbingly true.
This is not a Republican v Democrat issue (although, the Republicans do stand out for including the intent to continue the fight for unfettered political donations in their 2012 National Platform – and bankrolling the McCutcheon case all the way to the Supreme Court). It is not a Conservative v Liberal issue (and the so-called Libertarians are just as guilty). It is an issue that “we the people” must recognize as critical to our survival as a Democratic Republic. Curbing the donations to, and spending on, political campaigns must be addressed in order for anything else to be addressed. When potential candidates spend most of their time courting wealthy donors, by saying the words those donors want to hear at functions that can only be considered auditions, we have become a democracy in name only.
Money needs to come out of politics. Until it does, our legislature will continue down the inaction path it has been on, and our infrastructure will continue to crumble.
Campaign contributions are not free speech. Big spenders do not have more of a right to be heard than the rest of the population.
Image of Theodore Roosevelt was borrowed from the Encyclopedia Brittanica.
Originally posted May 12, 2015.