I’ve loved politics since I was a kid. I remember in 1964 putting an “LBJ” sticker on my Dad’s ’62 Ford Galaxie 500 and him getting mad at me, because as a salesman, what if his customer’s saw the sticker on his car? They might not buy from him if they didn’t agree with his political choice.
Well, who would have thought then, the situation we are in now. Sure, there were big philosophical differences between the political parties then. The Vietnam War was going on, the Cold War was still in full swing and the civil right era was exploding. But, even with a polarizing candidate like Barry Goldwater and some pretty strong political attack ads, the situation is not anything like today. The political attack ad is now just about the only thing you see and the actual truth tends to begin and end with the names of the candidates. Anything and everything is fair game.
I despise the situation we find ourselves in. We are no longer the “United States” of America, but the “polarized, divided states” of America. The level of political discourse as become as uncivil as a playground argument. All fueled by multimillionaire radio talk show hosts, who decry the “mainstream media” but whose rhetoric fueled by books, speaking tours and DVDs have become the mainstream. The other side is not just mistaken about their positions on vital issues, but has become as Satan, the “father of all lies.” Ready to drag the country and its people into hell.
According to the estimates, this year’s political campaign will have spent $4 Billion trying to get our votes. This becomes the most expensive midterm campaign in history, only less than the 2004 and 2008 presidential years. (http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-10-27/election-spending-already-a-record-might-reach-4-billion.html)
Imagine what could be done with that money rather than bombard us with attack ads and robo-calls. The sickest part of all is that the majority of that money comes from corporate, union and special interest groups thanks in large part to the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which unleashed unlimited political spending by corporations, now defined as persons. Talk about activist judges!
Now, we are stuck, at least for the time being, with not only 527 organizations with their phony “not endorsed by any candidate” ads, but the funneling of money in unlimited quantities without a duty to disclose from whom and where this money comes from.
Really now, is this what our Founding Fathers envisioned? Is this where we want our political process to go? Does all this bitterness and divisiveness help our nation and local communities? And what does it mean for the future of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA?