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Fix political system: Limit campaign money

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:10 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Rose M. Nolen

Some people insist that it will take a major tragedy to unite Americans because we’re divided by so many issues in so many ways. I hope that’s not true. It would be good if we could unite around a good idea. I believe if we could get a law passed making it illegal for candidates running for national office to accept or spend more than $50,000 for a single political campaign we could begin to repair the damage caused by the political divisiveness. For one thing, this would make it totally unnecessary for candidates to have to sell their souls to lobbyists in order to get elected.

But, of course, first we would have to convince a small minority that the system needs to be changed. In spite of the fact that neither Democrats nor Republicans seem to be responsive to the will of the people, a few people remain contented to let things go on this way. These are people who are as starstruck by national politicians as some teenagers are by types like Paris Hilton.

With this kind of limit on campaign finances, we could probably attract a better selection of candidates. And unless we devise some method of controlling the influence of money, I don’t think we will ever have a noncorrupt government.

Even the most political among us is eventually going to have to accept the fact that someone needs to get things under control. Hopefully, we will not have to submit to a dictatorship in order to have our food supply protected from contamination, for people to be able to earn a living from their work or to protect our identities. The current government is not working on behalf of the citizenry. Our borders are wide open, and nobody’s minding the store.

But, it seems to me, before all the problems looming overhead can be dealt with effectively, we have to correct the system under which our national leaders are elected and serve.

We have a perfect example right before our eyes of the ineffective manner in which our government is operating. At a time when we are facing the most critical issues of the day, our representatives are away from their desks on the campaign trail. Our soldiers are dying on the battlefield in a questionable war, many of our citizens are without essential health care, goods that are hazardous to our health and well-being from overseas are flooding the marketplace and we see no evidence of serious efforts being made to address these issues. And the bottom line is, we seem to be making more enemies every day.

I have seen polls that suggest that Independents are now outnumbering members of the two political parties. Unfortunately, this has come about at a time when little can be done to move the parties off of dead center. Without viable political organizations, the newly unaffiliated have no place to go. This is what happens when people wait too long to take action. I’m not sure if under the circumstances there will be time to establish new political parties before the next election.

In that case, the only option will be to try to effectively repair the system in place.

Getting the attention of people in control of local political parties is not an easy task. They are usually so adept at doing the same old things in the same old way that they have neither the will nor the energy to do anything differently. Changing runners in the middle of the race is not something they are likely to do. They don’t seem to understand that they have the power to change things from the ground up. Without the people working in the trenches, these politicians realize they don’t have a chance of getting into office.

I don’t believe that sticking with the status quo is going to be possible much longer as things seem to worsen.

Americans these days are unaccustomed to making sacrifices, especially when they don’t see the necessity of it. Getting poorer so others can get richer is becoming more and more unpopular.

Not bothering to go to the polls is one method people will use to fight back. But actually, fewer people voting doesn’t seem to bother politicians. In certain districts, certain politicians have been known to find that a happy prospect.

Placing a limit on campaign donations is the only way to put a stop to the lobbyists controlling the government. Living at the mercy of big business is hell for a lot of us. Allowing food into the country unsafe for human consumption is definitely going too far.

What is it about “enough is enough” that our politicians don’t understand?

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at nolen@iland.net.


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