U.S. Elections, Money, Media, Corruption
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United States elections process is costly, complicated and may be undemocratic in some aspects. Specially, after a recent supreme court decision, the field is becoming increasingly bumpy for the candidates with less money. For example, take the presidential elections. In accordance with the recent estimates, the major party candidates will spend up to one billion dollars each in 2012 elections. That is about two billion dollars in total. How can you call a process democratic, if anyone who wants to run must think and be prepared to raise such a huge amount of money? How can you guarantee equal participation to the small contributors, when rich candidates, corporations, unions and individual contributors are spending hundreds of millions of dollars? How can you even assume that corporations, lobbies, unions and individuals making these huge contributions in the favor of candidates will not have any effect on future policies of winning candidates? Since everyone in politics, incumbent or otherwise, knows that he or she will need such a huge amount of money for any future elections, they cannot go against the interests of rich and powerful? This supreme court decision has practically disenfranchised the poor and middle class people of country and has rendered them expectations, instead of being active participant in a Democratic process.
You and me are expected to watch, listen and read, negative ad after ad from rich campaigns and their super PACs and make a voting decision based on these negative ads, instead of making an informed decision, based on true knowledge of the candidates, their past, their views, their programs and personalities. Money is becoming so increasingly important in politics and political processes, that the system that was supposed to be run by the people, for the people and of the people, is practically now being run by the corporations, for the corporations and of the corporations. I feel that people like you and me are being diminished to nothing. The heart and soul of democracy, one person one vote, is being snatched away from us.
I mean, even before the campaigning season starts, big media starts speculating who has the most money and hence who will be front runner and get the nomination. Candidates are being assessed on the amount of money they raise, instead of their qualifications like honesty, programs, principles, views and personality. What the heck is this? Where we are heading too? Is there going to be a point when people having money, which is less then a certain level, will be barred from participation in elections?
We must end this insane stream of events. Our goal must be a system in which everyone gets a fair chance. I know, it is a very hard and distant goal. But, at least we should be heading towards it, not away from it. Many of this has to do with duopoly on political system. With multiple party system and lesser odds for any candidate to win, there will lesser and smaller bets on the candidates and the system may become fair and balanced. I cannot believe that this fair and balanced phrase is so messed up by Fox news that I am even scared to use it. It can easily be misinterpreted as exactly the opposite of it.
Unfortunately, this money game does not end here. The big money keeps lobbying, heavily, on all elected officials, at all the levels of our government. With virtually no effective legal limits on lobbying, lobbyists can spend any amount of money on any individual, group of people or the issue. If you think about it, this lobbying money effectively neutralizes the little effect, that our votes are left with, on policy matters. After all, this lobbying money can easily make elected officials to break their promises, they made to us before elections and go in a totally different direction, even may be in opposite direction.
At the same time, big media is another huge money game. Corporations, election campaigns, rich candidates and lobbies providing large sums in advertising money, can mold them anyway they want. Since, most people in contemporary United States, blindly follow the big media, may even be just one channel of TV, whatever is, specially, on TV and the way it is presented, plays a huge role in how we think, what we talk and the way we act and react. Big media is today’s bible, which the followers follow blindly. No ifs, no buts, no questions, no concerns, no thinking. What ever was on Fox News and the way it was presented is final. Is this the way we are supposed to decide on the matters that are going to affect us and our next generations. I am against raising the debt ceiling, because, that is Republican politicians are saying and because that is what Fox news is saying. I am going to vote for Mitt Romney, because, all the polls, all the big TV channels, radio stations, newspapers and magazines are telling me that he is the front runner, he has the most money and he is going to get the nomination. I am sure, in today’s America, no one can win elections with less money, even if it is God or Christ. Isn’t it unbelievable? Big money in elections can ruin down anyone with a bombardment of negative ads.
This is another sad aspect of our lives. Theoretically speaking, we all dislike negative ads. We all say that. But, practically speaking, unfortunately we all like negative ads. It is like an alcoholic saying that he hates alcohol. We all like to watch, listen to and read attack ads. We all like to gossip about these ads, hence, effectively spreading the word, which is the original purpose of these ads. And, above and beyond, this dirty game affects us, our minds, our thinking, our talking and what we ultimately do in polling booth. Even in the current Republican primary cycle, I believe, it was very obvious that every front runner would be the target of negative ads and nobody was surprised whenever it happened. Oh! They are targeting Newt because he is the front runner, now. Like it means nothing, it is bound to happen and there is nothing wrong with it.
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