Democracy up for buy, the people should step in

By Colin Marston ’13

The O’Jays once sang in their timeless composition “For the Love of Money” that “money can drive some people out of their minds.”

Well never before has it been so true for our system of government.

As Brophy students will eventually play a role in our democracy, it is a subject of vital interest.

According to the Washington Post, special interest groups have had a five–fold increase in spending so far in this election cycle than in the entire 2006 run, and the majority appearing from anonymous sources.

Even the largely, or at least formerly, respected Chamber of Commerce has infused $75 million of cash from foreign corporations to the campaigns of various Republican candidates.

But this isn’t a partisan issue.

The nation’s largest unions, AFL-CIO and The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, have already spent $100 million trying to save Democratic seats.

This institutional problem has been at work in our country for at least the past three decades, where the top one percent of our population has steadily progressed to control 20 percent of its wealth, and enormous corporations form monopolies over entire industries, resulting in a too-big-to-fail mentality.

The one event that became the deathblow to the veneer of accountability was the Supreme Court’s ruling in April on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which erased years of restrictions on corporate and special interest spending in elections.

The floodgates were opened and even though a whopping 80 percent of Americans opposed the ruling (ABC News/Washington Post poll), Washington welcomed it with open arms, with no serious attempt for reform formulated.

As the Great Recession continues onward, we hear claims of a jobless recovery, but recovery in what sense?

The “pundits” mean to say the stabilization of the nation’s largest corporations who in fact propelled this countries’ reckless economic nose dive.

When proposals are used to fight unemployment, such as the minimum wage, unemployment checks, middle-class tax cuts, and direct economic stimulus—we can see the glint of Target’s recent $150,000 donation to a Minnesota Republican who vows to stop “reckless government spending,” which is also known as stopping all help to a struggling working population, and only finding generosity on corporate welfare.

Or perhaps News Corporation, the world’s third largest media conglomerate, giving $1 million to the Republican Governor’s Association should say that something is fundamentally wrong with our system.

But just voting won’t solve the issues.

Voting for a return to our republic, if that’s not already a Catch-22, is needed.