- Your Town
Politics and Money
It appears we made it through the local election without being deluged with political ads and propaganda paid for by some guy in Florida. Since the Supreme Court said that money was a form of free speech and that corporations are people, we have been overwhelmed with political ads whether there was an election coming or they were opposing Obama Care. Since this is all a form of free speech, and there is nothing wrong with lying, there is no reason to believe anything we hear on the public media unless that particular media has a reputation for honesty. Modern media is distracting, and people go from one device to another or one subject to another in minutes. Tweets are popular but the life span of a tweet is about fifteen seconds. There is less and less focus on a particular issue or problem. Fewer people are willing to research and fact check what they hear about a particular issue. As I said last month, people can be converted to a point of view about an issue and are then unwilling to listen to any other argument. How can I convince you of something with a couple of tweets that you will believe forever? Believe me, it is done all of the time, but not by me. There are many who work for politicians and ideologues with the charisma to do that. There are people who still believe in death panels. If charisma doesn’t work, the politicos, who now have money, can inundate the public or a select group with the media they want them to hear or see. In addition to charisma, authority or position is effective in selling a point of view. Movie stars and athletes have been used for over fifty years to sell commercial products, but some are now shifting to political sales. Why would anyone think they would be experts on political issues? For the same reason they are accepted as experts on underwear, makeup or new cars. Sometimes well known physicians or government leaders are used. They can make huge amounts of money on speaking tours pumping a particular idea or policy. Would they, or you, lie or distort the truth in the speeches for ten thousand dollars a night? Would they write prescriptions for medications that are not fully approved? I have to ask why money can come from outside the state to advertise for a particular candidate or a particular issue. While it may be a free speech right, it seems to me to be none of an outsider’s business. I recently received a request for money from a candidate running for office in Ohio. I trashed that one. Very wealthy individuals and large corporations can move many millions of dollars to Montana to convince people that fracking on the Beartooth front is a good idea. They have at their disposal all of the techniques described above and more. If the law needs changed, I’m sure they can find a few candidates who need campaign financing, or they can use the new technique of financing a primary opponent to run against a sitting representative and drown him with every sort of media advertising. I firmly believe that state elections should allow no money from out of state for political campaign or issue purposes. Another point is why should anyone be able to fund political campaigns who is not a registered voter. To have persons or corporations sitting on the side of the election but influencing it through the distribution of funds for politicians and campaign ads, true and untrue, strikes me as a form of corruption. A number of states have passed laws to inhibit voting by minorities to prevent almost nonexistent election fraud. Which is more likely to corrupt the election, poor people or rich corporations? We need a law that states that no one may participate in elections who is not a registered voter for that election. I wonder how they will arrange for corporations to register and vote. The United States has gone through successful attempts to corrupt and steal elections since the beginning. One of the best known was Boss Tweed of Tammany Hall in New York City in the 1860’s and 70’, and Montana had the copper kings. It is time for the middle class to stand up and stop the corruption if they want to keep their democracy.