We can take back our country
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
We can overcome the stranglehold that corporate greed holds over our federal government. “How?”, you ask. It won’t be easy, but it can be done.
Obviously, we will get nowhere if we wait for Congress to do anything substantive about it. Congress’s “efforts” at creating meaningful ethics rules and campaign financing reform have been ludicrous. For far too many decades, they have become so addicted to campaign fund and lobbying bribery that there is virtually no hope that they can or even want to break that addiction. Like “druggies”, they will do anything for the next fix, continuing to sell out the public interest to corporate greed. Why would they kill the goose that lays their golden eggs?
The only hope we have is ourselves, the American people. If we want to restore a government “of the people, by the people, for the people”, as envisioned by the framers of the Constitution, and invoked by Abraham Lincoln, we’re the ones who have to do it, because there’s no one else who will do it for us.
And the times are ripe for a change right now. Well over a third of American voters are registered as Independents, indicating that they are not satisfied enough with either of the major political parties to align with them. Furthermore, both the Republican and Democratic Parties are deeply divided within themselves, over differences in their dedication to far-right conservatism and far-left liberalism. The alienation of the more moderate members of both parties from the hard-line conservative and liberal wings leaves them out in the cold, and finds them having more in common with the Independents. If we combined the moderates of both parties with the Independents, we would have a solid majority of voters to form a moderate middle-of-the-road party that could take back our country. And we would finally have a civil Congress that could work together for the common good instead of being entrenched in an unbreakable ideological divide.
But, how does a people’s party neutralize the enormous financial power of large corporations, and how does it raise the money to make its message heard? Several states (Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico and North Carolina), who have adopted “clean elections” free of corporate money, provide an example. In those states all major candidates are offered the option of state campaign funding if they agree not to accept corporate money. Those candidates can then claim that they would serve only the people, unlike their opponents who would be beholden to their corporate donors – a message that would be likely to resonate with a majority of voters. Also, the 2008 Obama presidential campaign and its effective use of the Internet demonstrated how small to moderate donations from many millions of people can add up to a substantial campaign war chest.
Once we, the people, take back our government to work for us instead of corporate greed, we would have a Congress that would enact true election reform legislation incorporating the option of government funding of election campaigns for all bona-fide candidates, putting challengers on an equal footing with incumbents (who, under the present system, have the advantage of huge corporate donations).
It’s up to us. Are we willing to put forth the effort and provide the financial support to take back our country and give us a government whose top priority is to serve the interests of the people of this great country rather than subverting them to the corporate greed? Only time will tell.
Glenwood Springs native Hal Sundin’s column runs every other Thursday in the Post Independent.
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