By Jack Jodell, Sept. 25, 2011
I have now watched each of the first three Republican Presidential “Debates”. Apart from their total lack of any new or substantive ideas, it dawned on me that all of the three corporate media networks which held each particular event were, in their own individual way, badly depriving prospective voters of a real, side by side, examination of each candidate. Now granted,, being that these were all very conservative Teapublicans (except for Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, and maybe Ron Paul), I wasn’t expecting anything really original or earth-shaking. Nonetheless, I was upset that, in many cases, the moderater would usually direct one question to only one candidate and then move on with another question to another. On occasion all were allowed to answer the same question, but not always. In my opinion, EACH candidate should have been asked, and allowed to answer, ALL the questions ALL the time, up and down the line. I accept the fact that specific candidates may have made questionable statements on the campaign trail which made their way into news coverage, and that such questions may require only that candidate’s clarification. But by and large, policy questions should be directed to and answered by every single candidate in succession, and often they were not. That way, it would be much easier for voters to weigh each candidate’s answer in relation to his or her competitors’. After all, how can one possibly a,b, and c candidates on specific issues if the moderater is jumping all over the place and not even allowing one or more candidates to weigh in? There was, in my opinion, far too much specific targeting of the perceived front-runners, and the minor candidates were far too often overlooked. Then, too, enforcement of the timing buzzer has always been far too lax, and most of the candidates just kept on talking, ignoring the buzzer altogether. Who the hell formats these debates anyway, and why do they set them up as goofy as they do? And why is the media so obsessed with finding and covering a “gotcha moment” by a candidate to the exclusion of serious analyses of each candidate’s proposals? It is becoming obvious that the mainstream media, the CORPORATE-controlled media, is once again showing how truly worthless they are. For example, did you know that there is, right now, a mass protest against huge corporate profits being held under the name “OCCUPY WALL STREET” on 10th and Broadway in New York City? Probably not—the media, with the exception of Keith Olbermann on CURRENT TV, has all but ignored it. Aside from Keith, the only real places to get accurate, thorough reporting these days is on alternative news websites, among which are http://occupywallst.org/, http://wagingnonviolence.org/, http://www.commondreams.org/, and others, but that will be the subject of a later post. Back to the upcoming 2012 election for now.
I am DISGUSTED by the whole way we run our elections. Aside from the flaws I’ve mentioned above with the debate portion of this spectacle, there are many oher unanswered questions and problems. First, and obvious, is the way we fund our campaigns. Corporate and special interest money, and candidate access, too, dwarfs that of individual citizens. This guarantees a bought-out politician once the race is run and won. Second, every election, presidential or otherwise, is prohibitively expensive to compete in. Elections have turned into a big, fat cash cow for ad agencies and television and radio stations. The cost of running ads in these mediums is outrageously high, and makes it all but impossible for ANY candidate to even run, let alone win, ANY election without massive financial backing from political parties and/or special interest groups. Again, the end result of this is compromised, bought-out candidates, not public servants. Is it any wonder regular working people seldom get legislation passed beneficial directly to THEM? Third, the very nature of today’s political ads are insulting and very, VERY juvenile. They are a gigantic turn-off to voters, as they insult one’s intelligence.They typically all share the same characteristics: 1). They demonize the opponent, often with false or wildly exaggerated claims; 2). They overstate their own candidate’s accomplishments or advantages; 3). They use fear as a motivator to vote for or against someone; 4). They wildly distort an opponent’s or his party’s position on key, hot-button issues; and 5). They focus on the undesirability of the candidate’s opponent rather than being truly issue-oriented, with rare exception.
U.S. elections are NOT fair and do NOT result in representative democracy. I repeat: “U.S. elections are NOT fair and do NOT result in representative democracy!” FAR too often, the candidate who has the biggest campaign war chest will win the election. Then he or she gets elected and immediately sponsors bills designed to benefit the group responsible for winning them the election, and THAT is why we have such pork-barrel spending and bills which often benefit the very few at the expense of the great many. The Supreme Court’s utterly DESPICABLE Citizens United decision, which effectively nullified any restriction on unlimited corporate spending for elections, meaning those candidates infused with the most corporate money will almost automatically win the election. Once more, this will lead to a flood of pro-corporate, anti-labor and anti-consumer bills and policies. THAT, my friends, is NOT what our Founding Fathers intended for us at all, and THAT is NOT REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY!
In this current corporate-dominated, money-obsessed political climate we are all but trapped in, I am not optimistic that we will ever be able to fix this definitely broken electoral system or its very flawed and dysfunctional end result, our government itself. However, as an American Dissident, I will nevertheless propose some ideas for reform, practical or impractical as they may be. knowing that there are vast numbers who share my viewpoint and in hopes that public dissatisfaction may someday force some of them to be adopted. I am calling for:
1). A complete ban on all corporate or special interest-produced political media ads. The attempt to sell us a candidate through the use of anything other than the merit of his or her ideas must be strictly forbidden.
2). A total ban on all corporate or special interest campaign contributions. All they do is make the candidate beholden to them rather than to the general public. HAVE EACH CANDIDATE BE GIVEN AN EQUAL AMOUNT OF GOVERNMENT-FINANCED CAMPAIGN MONEY TO SPEND, AND ALLOW NO OTHER FUNDS TO BE SPENT IN AN ELECTION ENDEAVOR.
3). Guaranteed equal time and access to all forms of media for all major candidates (“major” to be defined and determined at a later date).
4). Candidates making untrue or misleading comments about their opponent, or misstating their own record, to be HEAVILY FINED, with banner headlines being widely distributed detailing exactly how they lied.
5). Both congressional and presidential campaigning to be limited to only ONE FULL YEAR from the election date.
6). Political ads to be serious and accurate portrayals of a candidate’s stand on the issues, NOT a Hollywood-style, overly- produced glamour campaign designed to get voters to “like” him or her personally, or to “dislike” the opponent.
7). An end to this ridiculous flood of presidential primaries, which needlessly drain resources and boil down to a silly popularity contest among each party’s political base. Elections are for the good of the country, NOT for the good of a party.
Go ahead and attack me on these ideas. Say I’m limiting corporate or special interests’ freedom of expression. That’s fine: owing to the fact that they are NOT individual voters, they do NOT enjoy an individual’s free speech rights, I don’t care WHAT the corporate Supreme Court says! After all, what do you think they are doing to US through their continual gaming of the electoral system? Aren’t THEY nullifying OUR free speech rights by taking unfair access to our candidates? Let them have the same kind of access to candidates WE do: through voting at the ballot box, or seeing them speak at public political gatherings! We can’t allow these short-sighted idiots to continue to pervert and destroy our government for their own material gain. Let them make their profits the old-fashioned way: not by greasing palms with secret under the table donations, but by actually EARNING them instead!