Change Congress? Didn’t we just change control of Congress? Well, we did change the party that controls Congress, but we haven’t yet changed the money that controls the politicians who control Congress. Barack Obama will have an uphill climb, guaranteed, because politicians are not going to judge his proposals based on their merits. There is always the money, which feeds their cravings for reelection.
How can we get the attention of our politicians? What if our federal politicians all learned that many of their potential donors took this pledge: “I’m pledging not to donate to any federal candidate unless they support legislation making congressional elections citizen-funded, not special-interest funded.” That is the idea of Lawrence Lessig. This link will take you to a speech by Lessig, who explains the urgent need to “Change Congress.”
As long as members of Congress keep themselves in a position where they can be influenced by large contributions of money, we shouldn’t trust them. Lessig explains that the craving for money by politicians is an addiction much like alcoholism. It has made our politicians dependent on money. It warps their judgment. The examples discussed include the Communications Act, the sugar industry, inaction on global warming and the absurd extension of existing copyrights (keeping immense amounts of works out of the public domain). There are countless other despicable examples.
Money buys results in Congress. Money has eroded our trust in Congress. Only 9% of Americans have faith in Congress to do what’s right. That’s right. We’re in the single digits.
The Framers of our Constitution were obsessed with keeping our leaders independent. Because that independence has failed, Democracy has failed. I hate to be saying these things in this time of “Hope,” but there is no reason to assume otherwise when it comes to Congress