Arts & Entertainment
We're not in Kansas anymore It's all about the Benjamins
By Michelle E. Brown
Originally printed 6/14/2012 (Issue 2024 - Between The Lines News)
Well the numbers are out, confirming once again the impact of the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" ruling - money can't buy you love but it sure as hell can buy you an election. At least that is what GOP backers are hoping.
Following Governor Scott Walker's defeat of a recall effort with help from financial infusions of over $8 million from the Republican Governor's Association (RGA) and at least another million from the Koch brothers for negative attack ads, it begs the question can our vote be bought by these massive influxes of money to sway our opinion.
Folks were not in Kansas anymore where Mr. Smith can go to Washington and stand up to graft and corruption.
We're living in the world of double-speak, sound bites, cut and paste image/story weaving. Its partisan politics at its worst where media - television, radio, twitter, blogs, etc. - preach a gospel of persuasion not necessarily based on reality or the truth.
Have you seen the one where the computer generated female voter and her kids remarkably age over the course of the commercial ultimately blaming the Obama administration for her suddenly grown children being back at home, out of work with a bleak future. It's the New Majority Agenda - Seriously!
In this battle for the hearts, minds and most importantly votes of America, he/she who has the deepest pockets wins. And right now those pockets appear to have a very deep red lining.
Republican Governor Walker raised more campaign cash than any candidate in Wisconsin history. His war chest grew by a whopping $5.9 million in the last weeks before the election.
On the heels of the Walker win, it was announced that the Romney campaign and Republican Party out-fundraised President Obama and the Democratic Party for the first time in this campaign - Romney/Republican $77 million to Obama/Democrats $60 million.
Both camps boasted receiving significant contributions from small donors giving $250 or less. Sounds like a referendum from the "people" at first glance supporting Romney and the Republican party - well not actually.
According to the Romney camp, only $12 million or approximately 16 percent of its record breaking fundraising contributions came from these small donors.
To be fair, the Obama campaign didn't provide a similar percentage when the information was initially released, but stood behind its 98 percent of contributions coming from small donors.
So where did the remaining $65 million donated to the Republicans come from? We may never know.
Anonymous donors and secret money has become the real growth area in campaign politics and they're plan is to buy YOUR VOTE!
Need proof? Here's what anonymous donors can do.
Tax records show that Karl Rove's organization, "Crossroads GPS," includes between one and two dozen contributors of at least $1 million each. It has a few others giving as much as $10 million. This handful of anonymous donors reportedly accounted for nearly 90 percent of all money raised by Crossroads GPS in 2010 and 2011.
And what did they do? Rove along with other conservative organizations spent over $30 million on attack ads.
It gives a whole new twist to "Don't Ask. Don't Tell." Politicians and their parties don't have to ask where the money is coming from and these organizations can tell us pretty much whatever they want to win - by any means necessary.
The "Citizens United" ruling held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions, in effect giving these entities the same protections provided individuals in the "Bill of Rights" in the U.S. Constitution.
It did not however give corporations, unions or other entities the right to skip disclosure regulations that, in Justice Kennedy's words, "... provide information to the electorate. The resulting transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and different messages."
So how do we the people, fight these deep-pocketed political juggernaughts?
By now you've probably received emails, texts and phone calls asking for donations. Money will help but the answer is more than raising more money.
We have to combat the incessant, viral messaging being paid for by anonymous donors whose motives are far from transparent, hardly inclusive and pushing an agenda to enrich a minority at the expense of the majority - the poor, women, minorities, immigrants, gay, - the 99 percent.
Double-speak has to be replaced with facts, critical analysis and open discourse. Sound bites must be replaced with one-on-one discussions between neighbors, in congregations, at town hall meetings.
We have to play a strong offensive ground-game in the media - television, radio, twitter, blogs, and print. Leaders - not politicians - in our communities, neighborhoods, organizations, etc. must preach a gospel of reason, inclusion and diversity based founding principles of this country.
Just being nice people, hoping, wishing, dreaming that one day we will all be equal isn't going to get it. It's time to take off the rose colored glasses, to get off the couch and get busy - like yesterday.
And remember what your mama told you "Beware of strangers bearing gifts" especially anonymous strangers with deep pockets. Or it will be all about the Benjamins!Michelle E. Brown is a Public Speaker, Activist and Author follow her activities at http://www.mychangeiam.com http://www.twitter.com/mychangeiam http://www.youtube.com/mychangeiam