To mount a Presidential campaign these days, you need just two people: a candidate and a wealthy donor.
Or, in Trump’s case, just one: he is his own billionaire.
And he is the unadorned face of American politics.
~Amy Davidson writing in the New Yorker
While the first Republican debate was televised, I stayed safely in the bedroom with a good book, while my husband and nephew watched … and mostly laughed. That’s because the state of politics today is laughable — shameful, even. Trump is a buffoon, but his high poll numbers tell us that the populace is, well, what DOES it tell us about the populace? I don’t want to say what it tells me. But it tells us something else,too. It tells us that the political system is broken. Really broken.
But I think it can be fixed. I don’t think it will be fixed, but it can be. Every day I am reminded of the great need for significant, strict and enforceable campaign reform. It seems to me that if each presidential candidate were publicly funded with the same amount of public money, the special interest groups would lose their power. Public money because I believe it would be in the public’s interest to have a corruption- and crazy-free election for a change. Because, you know, special interest groups are who really runs this country.
Call me simplistic, if you like, but if politicians did not fund raise, it would be a big step toward the people taking back control of politics.
Now, I’m not stupid. I know there will always be ways special interests make themselves ‘useful’ to politicians. Those loopholes must be closed, one by one, for our political system to function ethically.
Media need to clean up their act. Oh, I know that each news channel has its bias and they thrive on lies.
I lay at the media’s feet responsibility for the shameful way candidates grandstand. The crazier the story, the better is the rule of thumb for getting maximum media coverage. Can you imagine Walter Cronkite covering the kind of nonsense that current news-readers do?
Despite our much-vaunted freedom of the press there must be media reform, too. Because the lies that are perpetrated today help no one. It’s bull shi t, plain and simple, the kind of thing that Jon Stewart was so good at pointing out. Outing BS is Bill Maher’s specialty, too. As the years passed and the BS got thicker and thicker it’s been frustrating for me to watch either show. Don’t get me wrong: I agree with just about all of what they say. I just can’t bear the reminder that our society and its people have sunk so low as to fall prey to this political and media BS.
Left or right, it’s all the same. The only difference is that the right seems to have no boundaries. It’s way better at dirty stuff than the left, like presenting bias as fact. I’m not saying the left doesn’t swing that way, but it certainly is far less effective at it.
What flummoxes me is the popularity of Jon Stewart (missed already) juxtaposed against the high viewership of Faux News. I suppose it reflects the schizophrenic nature of our political system, this society in which a comedy show becomes a wise purveyor of news and a hyped up, lying network becomes the news show the common man or woman watches most.
As much as I believe campaign reform is possible, media reform, too, I believe that on a theoretical basis, only, because I don’t think anything will change. There are far too many vested interests for meaningful change to stand a chance.
It would be nice, though, if more Americans woke up to what is happening.
Maybe it would inspire something. What, I don’t know. But something.