Editor: As much as I am concerned about who wins the election, I am even more concerned about the corruption of the process.
I care about the outcome because — notwithstanding the president’s unpopularity and the obstacles that he has been up against, beginning with the commitment of the Republican Congress to be against anything that he proposes — life is better than it was when he was elected in 2008. The list of actual challenges, domestic and international, is a long one — but the improvements are measurable, too. Nonetheless, the process of deliberate Republican rejection is alarmingly political and undemocratic.
But most alarming is the estimated $4 billion spent on the 2014 campaign. It is based in part on the Supreme Court’s verdict in the case involving Citizens United — a misnomer if ever there was one. Think of what $4 billion could buy in terms of services that our people need — including affordable health care, affordable education and reliable infrastructure.
The unspoken but obvious assumption is that our politics, indeed our democracy, is for sale to the highest bidder. Does that sound like a good idea to people who have enjoyed the rights and responsibilities of citizenship for their entire lives? Does it sound like a good idea to the disadvantaged? To new immigrants? I don’t think so.
It is a grim distortion of our ideals and values — and our history. Political theorist Benjamin Barber, in his book, “Jihad vs. McWorld,” describes the architecture of democracy metaphorically as a stool resting on three legs: government, the market and civil society. When those are in balance, our democracy is stable and robust. We don’t like big government but we surely don’t want to be owned and operated by business. Citizens want to and must share in the noble project of making our democracy work.
Don’t forget to vote.
TIMES-TRIBUNE READERS Publication Date: November 4, 2014