It is so easy to balk at other countries’ tainted elections. We grimace and groan when we talk of unethical politicians (a redundancy, right?), corrupt infrastructures, and bought elections. Oh, the mighty United States is above all that. Or is it?
We do have “clean” elections. I do not believe voter fraud is rampant. I believe our system is orderly and fair. But ... there is this little issue of campaign finance. It’s too big a beast to wrestle, and its rules are as dense as corporate tax code. There are enough loopholes (and lawyers) to dance around the rules. Campaign contributions have skyrocketed, and the advent of the Super PAC has landed elections squarely into the deep pockets of the people who have the means and hubris to buy an election.
While we might believe we have clean elections in America, our system is tainted with corruption in the form of campaign contributions. Wealth translates to power any way you look at it. Unfortunately, those who wield the power haven’t an ounce of Utopian ideals and focus instead on locking in their own station in life. Those who can volunteer and toil and work. Those who can’t contribute money to buy their way.
There needs to be a limit on campaign contributions. Period. Elections and campaigns have been guided by obscene wealth, and the very people our civil servants are supposed to serve have been brushed aside. We even have foreign companies investing in our political system now. The bartering of money for special interest favors isn’t new, nor is it newsworthy. But it is worth noting that special interests will eventually usurp national interests in the tit for tat exchange of campaign contributions for votes. Votes are indeed being bought in America, and it’s foolish to think otherwise. Let me be straight, this is happening on ALL sides of the political spectrum.
Our citizens are not being served, lifted, or protected. The everyday people who are in pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness are not bettered by the greedy exchange of money for votes. Political power belongs in the hands of citizens, not corporations, foreign interests, or one percent of the population.
Image via Una Smith/Wikimedia Commons