Wednesday, June 6, 2012

WHO IS TO BLAME?


If corporate (or, some would argue, Labor Union) big money can buy elections by making up facts and spreading fear and misinformation in campaigns for or against candidates and issues, does that say something negative about the big money – or does it speak to something worse about the electorate? 

If, collectively, we don’t have the time or inclination to separate truth from campaign rhetoric, we cannot blame big money.  The blame rests with us.  Voters can only be “tricked” when they don’t pay attention to the facts.  And if we are being tricked, perhaps we are just too busy or too disinterested to be effective members of a participatory democracy. 

That, or we’d have to believe big money wins because it supports that which parallels the will of the people.

© 2012
Church of the Open Road Press

13 comments:

  1. I am taking great liberties in transferring selected comments about this post from my Facebook Account to this site. It makes for some interesting follow-up. (Some of my Facebook Friends, I know, would rather I not make such transfers, so hopefully, I am respecting their wishes by not moving them from there to here...)

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  2. Yes, voters can be tricked. Many do believe the lies that are told about the issues. Romney continues to state things he knows not to be true, and many people will believe him.

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  3. I truly cannot know another persons motivations for voting and "how" they cast their votes. But, I do recognize that the day following a primary, or election, I am often depressed.

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  4. This election has left me with serious concerns regarding democracy in this country. We witnessed a couple of coups d'├ętat yesterday in Wisconsin and here in California where special interest groups unabashedly bought elections. I am also depressed, Jeanne. How do we solve this dilemma?

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  5. It comes down to one of two things, John: Either take the money out of the election process or educate voters about their responsibility to be credibly informed. In a nutshell: either electoral regulation or a good civics class.

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  6. How about both. We don't need to regulate 98% of the people but unfortunately the 2% that abuse the right to participate in democratic elections suggests that regulation and a revisit to "Citizens United" is in order. An educated electorate is always a safe guard against abuse but again there is a small group that capitalizes on ignorance for their own gain. Public education, with all of its struggles, is still the only safe guard against the agenda of "special interests" who would like to turn over education to their own propagandists.

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  7. Personally, I'd vote for better Civics education. But that would mean having to wrest teens away from far more entertaining and engaging pastimes like playing "Angry Birds" on smartphones and experimenting with sex. (A-hem.) John's right (again, dang it): Those special interests wishing to defund education are doing so with a clear agenda in mind.

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  8. Take the money out...shorter election season (too long, voter/ad fatigue) and education...maybe people standing on boxes in front of Wal-Mart reading from the voter pamphlet explaining issues and beliefs of candidates!

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  9. I am the sort of activist that you are, Anonymous. Stand on those boxes. Tell it like it is. Certainly many of the people in WI practiced the most "active" voter participation that I have seen in years. But, I don't see that is working. I think that democracy is to complicated for many. As I have said often in the past, voting is the final act. What has to come before is study, discernment, evaluation, speaking out, listening to others, protesting for change... I sadly fear that we Americans don't have enough energy for that. But, I wonder if that energy will change if we become a nation of serfs that tug forelocks to the rich.

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  10. Answer is "yes". To both. True campaign finance reform (as in, politicians are banned from money influence, period) needs to be an amendment to the US constitution - but will never happen as long as ":corporations are people" and "cash is speech". Hrrrumph.

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  11. Both sides stretch the truth. But we cannot blame crooked politicians (is that redundant?) for lying -- it's what they do. We need to look at ourselves. WE need to be aware of the issues, the candidates' platforms. Then make informed decisions.

    And if you don't vote, please remove yourself from this conversation as you truly have no part of the discussion.

    (Yes, my idiot cousins are the loudest complainers of "the way it is in the USA" yet don't vote. Oy...

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  12. As for the electorate, part of the answer is 30 years of our society devaluing public education (despite the yeoman work of good professionals) helping generate adults who could think critically a bit more than they do; and a remarkable development of a marketing/advertising industry that is quite good at targeting/exploiting the primitive in all of us - simplistic hate, dumbed-down desire, an easy answer for complex questions. And run on sentences.

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  13. We own a Civic. Had we had better Civic education, we probably woulda gotten the Accord.

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