At last, along with the long awaited arrival of professional football (one of my true joys), we are also blessed with the additional caveat of another presidential election season. Our commercial breaks will be bombarded by low-based character assassination political ads, compelled to evoke individual fury and aggravation over our currently unreconciled political discourse. So we are told over and over again that the candidates have gone to their designated political corners (left and right wing), but just for a moment, let's tune into one our favorite radio stations-'WII-FM' (What's In It For Me). I'm hearing the verbal rancor concerning everything from politicizing a Chick-fil-A meal to burying my grandmother, because those political demons want to strip her social security and medicare from her arthritic dying grip.
So, is this really an election like no other? Unfortunately, yes, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court. For the first time since the foundation of this nation, we have chosen to accept that money, over principle, is a far more salient factor in politics than the will of the republic it governs. With the case of Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission in a 5-4 decision, the court jumped into its own political cess-pool by ruling that the existing 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Act violated the first amendment, by establishing controls on the expenditures that corporations and unions could commit to a political process. Corporations are now people, as one of the candidates professes in a stump speech on the president campaign trail. Unfortunately, our reward for being part of this highly polarized political discourse is to be inundated with commercial advertisements, determined to sway the will of the few undecided to vote for them. The current estimation is that nearly $1 billion will be spent on obtaining a job that pays just over $400,000. We all know that the salary is not the real reason why all of these PAC's, corporations, billionaires, unions and special interest groups are investing in the presidency - it's about the WII-FM for them. I'm not going to postulate on the individual 'what's-in-it-for-me's,' but I do want to make a statement on the direction and the brandish steps we are taking as a nation to live up to these revised election standards.
One of the things that makes this election like no other election in our nations history, besides the amount of money being placed into the equation, are the new campaign ID laws perpetrated on disenfranchising the voting process. Now, we can all argue the benefits and validation of having a secure election process. However, why are we arguing over hanging chads on a election ballot in the digital age? Primarily, it's the result of a failure on our behalf to strengthen the election ballot process. Before creating an environment where we risk disenfranchising veterans, the elderly and minorities, we have done nothing to strengthen our ballot process and in turn reduced early voting and absentee voting timelines. Citizens currently stand in lines for hours waiting for the opportunity to cast a vote and there is nothing being done to assure that voting can be executed in a more timely fashion. Yet creating a process that requests the use of different forms of IDs accelerates this process how again? Using the urban myth that the dead are voting only substantiates the existing archaic updating process states use to manage voter rolls. Blaming the federal government for the upkeep of the state voters roll instead of looking into individual state tax registers, DMV records and real estate records is a poor excuse for validating the unsubstantiated premise that the dead vote and election fraud is committed. The fact that no provisions have been made to provide the disenfranchised with access to the required IDs to vote only further skews the political landscape. Do we really, as a nation, want to take a direction that overflows our courts with lawsuits from states that possibly violate the 15th Amendment and will be paid for on the citizens dime? Are we willing in the 21st century to create a situation that establishes a poll tax on the poor and disenfranchised, on the hopes that it secures a political win?
Obviously, since we have already undertaken these actions the answer is yes. To hell with the perceptions of repeating bigoted election history. Fullsteam ahead for those prepared to purchase with money what they lack in character to earn. For those of us that have already decided and are prepared to step into the voters booth, to exercise that choice, what does this mean for us? Besides a relentless bombardment of pointless advertisement and a news media that clearly exhibits itself as being in the pocket of the election process, we are compelled to ride the wave and hope that the campaign trough run empty sooner than later. I say this because there will be no big ideas coming from our political process in the 21st century as long as we the people allow these politicians to remain in the pocket of special interests and retire voting their interest instead of those they represent. The bonus to us is to deal with the appeal of mass murders, because we know even in the inner cities, guns don't kill people, people kill people - how absurd! That even though medicare is destined to go bankrupt, the money we have borrowed from the fund substantiates a 'kill-first' instead of a talk first diplomacy, is depleting the federal coffers and allowing roads and infrastructures like water systems, wells and electrical grids to decay.
The second thing is that who ever wins the presidency will face a do nothing congress that is entrenched individual political ideology from the Tea Party believers professing the acensions of communist in congress to progressives ardent on addressing legalizing pot. There is so little accountability in our political process that we are willing allow those elected to represent us to spend years at a job not only missing votes but keeping their constituencies divided over push poll issues to maintain a seat. If anything there should be an accountabilitybill passed for house and senate representatives infinsizing term limits as well but we will all be long dead and dust before a member of either branch brings such a bill to the floor. So the real deal on the WII-FM is to be annoyed by the news media, political gaffes and those who will push the button on that 2:00AM call. Thanks to Citizens United for dragging the presidency into the biggest financial bidding war the world has seen. This is truly not a representation of the version of democracy envisioned by the founding fathers.