The problem with politicians

February 18, 2010 | By | Reply More

Colin Beavan (No Impact Man) sums it up like this at his blog:

[T]he politics of Washington are defunct. The Democratic politicians want to beat the Republicans. The Republican ones want to beat the Democratic ones. They are, like the rest of us, scared for their jobs!

But the American people? We just want to get along with each other and solve problems. We want happy lives and to be kind to our neighbors. We want leaders who care about us more than their own careers.

Americans are often under the illusion that we have meaningful choices when we vote in national elections, but that is dangerously simplistic. Big money and commercial media pre-designate the candidates who qualify as “serious candidates” long before the citizens vote. Those candidates who prevail are those that have given sufficient winks and nods to big money such that they continue to get well-funded. To compound things, big money likes the status quo. Hence, Barack Obama’s continuing lovefest with Wall Street (Disclosure: I voted for Obama but I’m sorely disappointed–yet I still think he is far preferable to McCain-Palin).

There are no easy solutions to this problem. The start of a solution, in my opinion, is to give smart, “non-connected” and non-monied people a real chance to get elected. There are several “clean money” campaign reform proposals floating about (for details on one of these, see this post by Lawrence Lessig). The purpose of clean-money elections is the radical idea promoted by the Founding Fathers: that We the People would self-govern.

The topic Colin Beavan raises today is the most important political topic out there, in my opinion. Without an honest, open and self-critical deliberative process, we don’t actually have a democracy. With the current system of private-money elections (especially in the wake of Citizens United), we don’t have an honest, open and self-critical deliberate process. What we have instead, is what Beavan has described: a big expensive game where politicians do anything and say anything to maintain their power and perks.

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Category: Communication, Corruption, Politics, Psychology Cognition, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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