A Sad State
When Only Millionaires May Lead
By James Donahue
every four years by presidential, Senate and Congressional contenders should trouble most American voters.
We doubt if the people
who framed our system of government expected the people elected to lead our nation to represent an exclusive club assessable
by only the rich. Because of the high cost of contemporary media coverage and the changing way the election process is conducted,
that is exactly what it has turned out to be. Either the candidate is personally wealthy, or has very wealthy connections
to people willing to invest heavily for personal political advantage.
With the advent of contemporary
electronic media that allows us all to have close examination of every candidate, from the pimple on his or her nose to any
scandal linked to the past, we have a tendency to select only the people best groomed for public appeal. And in today's fast-paced
world, it takes a lot of money to generate that kind of allure.
Not only do these candidates
have to win primary votes in key electoral states, they must be constantly on their guard against the slightest careless comment
that might offend a minority group or give the impression the speaker is taking a strong position on contemporary hot-button
issues. Casual slips of the tongue can be political disaster.
Contenders must hire
professional writers, lawyers and sociologists to prepare their speeches; hair and body stylists to give them that "Hollywood
look" and high-priced advertising people to develop campaign promotions designed to make them look better than the other guys.
The results have been
tragic. It is no longer the "best man (or woman)" that wins the election, but rather the person for whom the most money was
spent. This isn't just affecting the highest office, but it is proving true in senatorial, congressional, gubernatorial and
even mayoral contests.
This, in turn,
puts our leadership at high risk of being "sold out" to whatever corporation or cash contributors that donated the most money
into their campaign. And this is why the recent US Supreme Court decision to open the door to corporate cash spending for
political candidates threatens to intensify the imbalance. Clever advertising and smear campaigns can fool voters to choose
the wrong candidate.
One need only look at
the performance of former President George W. Bush and his cabinet, or the rash of scandals involving elected legislators
to clearly see the results of this kind of "ownership" by the big business interests that put him in office.
Mr. Bush has been regarded
as an ignorant man because of his unflinching stand on maintaining an unpopular war in Iraq and resisting controls on greenhouse
gas emissions. Big business in America makes a lot of money on war, and it does not want to spend money cleaning the emissions
pouring from antiquated old factories. There also is a belief that the nation that controls the world supply of oil will control
the world. And there is a lot of oil under the sands of Iraq.
While Mr. Bush may not
be the brightest button that ever landed in the Oval Office, he was smart enough to know who was buttering his toast, and
he did exactly what he was paid to do from the day he stepped into Texas politics. If you notice, President Barack Obama,
while promoting change, has not waivered far from the old policies employed by Mr. Bush. Why do you think that is?
If Americans don't find
a way to correct this problem, reverse the effects of that terrible court decision, and do it fast, we can expect big business
interests (alias organized crime) to soon be in total control of our government and our lives.