See No Evil

Television – See No Evil

Normally, I try not to let politics bother me. I mean, it does bother me, a lot. Too much for my health, so although I care deeply, I try not to listen to the daily deluge of bad reports. I read the news, I just try to stay away from the audio and video because it quickly becomes overwhelming.

I live in a very blue state in a very blue part of the country. I put up with crappy winters because I enjoy living somewhere with values that are similar to mine. I generally feel like my elected representatives are going to vote the way I would on issues and they introduce legislation that I agree with so all of the pleas to email or call your legislator are things I don’t usually feel I need to do. I don’t live in a battleground state. Now and then I have fired off a letter when I feel especially strongly about something but mostly I get out and vote at every primary, every local election, every seat. I make sure I vote even when it’s nothing but a local bond issue. I show up at the off-season special elections. Voting always seemed to me like the truest way to take democracy into your own hands.

But I couldn’t help but be really disappointed by the latest Supreme Court ruling further dismantling the already weak restrictions on campaign contributions. Nothing gets my blood boiling faster than trumped up campaign commercials paid for by some patriotic sounding organization that is a front for who knows what or whom, advancing the candidate they think will let them get away with what they want to do. If I had my way, there would be zero dollars allowed in elections. Not even your own money. Public financing only, equal dollar figures (of a modest amount) for all candidates, and if you want to increase your visibility, get your ground game in gear. Polish that stump speech and criss-cross your state and show up and talk to actual people. Real human beings. And your tv commercials and radio ads would only be allowed to say where you stand on the issues, not trashing the opponent. The same policy for both sides.

This very disturbing trend toward handing over the reins to the uber-wealthy infuriates me. I know I’m not the only one. I saw Jon Stewart’s segment on the Daily Show from the other night and just watched in horror as a couple of the Justices basically said they don’t see how money equals influence. At best, it’s willful blindness though I’m sorry to say that I think that’s being way too generous.

I am not someone who is going to be taken in by advertising because I’m not an undecided voter. I don’t really understand how people can be. I am not a low-information voter because I feel it is my responsibility as a citizen to find out about the issues and where the candidates stand. Maybe it’s the fact that I grew up in the age of School House Rock and spent my Saturday mornings learning about bills becoming law and the three branches of government, set to catchy tunes. If you’re about my age I bet you can recite the Preamble to the Constitution, but maybe only if you can sing it.

However, I think there aren’t enough people for whom that’s true and sometimes they are swayed by misleading advertising. If we can’t count on the Supreme Court to see the evil inherent in allowing the voice of a few to rule the air waves, then I guess we are going to have to get a whole lot louder ourselves. Crank the tunes, folks, it’s on.