The One Thing That Will Return Sanity To Our Political Process

Political flyers from one election season

I decided to save the paper political flyers we received leading up to this election. A quick count reveals that 89 brochures and postcards landed in our mailbox and on our front door.

In my neighborhood we have 600 homes, so just in our square mile we probably received about 54,000 pieces of propaganda. Think of the trees cut to promote candidates and issues this year — the environmental impact of our election process is staggering.

A measure that was dear to my heart was the passage of Proposition 105, an amendment to label GMO foods. Early returns indicate that the measure was defeated.

Three of the 89 mailers we received were slick, four-page color brochures from No on 105.

political flyers

 

We didn’t receive anything from the pro-GMO labeling camp. That’s not surprising, given that we were outspent on this campaign by 20 to 1. I contributed $25 to the Right to Know Colorado campaign, but it takes a lot of moms sending $25 to equal the $16 million dollars that Monsanto and other biotech and agribusiness opponents spent to defeat this measure in Colorado.

We’re now seeing the result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s unpopular (and wrongly-named) “Citizens United” decision four years ago to remove barriers to corporate spending during elections. You may recall the furor over the court’s “corporate personhood” ruling. Eighty percent of us opposed the decision — with rare, nearly-equal bipartisan agreement from Republicans and Democrats both.

The aftermath of those open floodgates is not pretty. Do you know anyone who’s not weary of the awful barrage of attack ads, robo-calls and politicized misinformation? Just think — we have another presidential election to look forward to in 2016.

Now that Pandora’s Box has been opened, we can be assured that the politicians, wealthy donors, big corporations, and media companies that benefit from all the ad spending will be completely unmotivated to overturn the Citizens United ruling.

What can a frustrated, concerned citizen do? The answer is simple:  we need to make an organized, grassroots effort to enact campaign finance reform. Groups like People for the American Way and Move to Amend  joined forces and delivered a petition with 3.2 million reform supporter signatures to Capitol Hill in September. Sixteen states have already passed resolutions to overturn Citizens United.

Campaign finance reform is the only way to restore democracy to our political process here in the United States, and we may all need to get involved on some level to make our voices heard.

What do you think?

The signature for Eliza Cross

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

4 comments to The One Thing That Will Return Sanity To Our Political Process

  • Gloria

    I guess I’m torn on the issue. On the one hand, I totally agree with you because I want the ordinary citizen to be heard and not drowned out by the megaphoned corporations and special interest groups (that often gather millions of dollars from rich individuals with personal agendas).

    On the other hand, I am leery of any legislation that limits political freedom of speech… It concerns me whenever government, especially government as big and centralized as ours has gotten, is enabled by those of us who want its “help” to wield a heavy hand. That often results in opening more of a Pandora’s box than we bargained for.

    I wonder if there is a better way to overcome the powerful interests than to pass legislation that limits economic and political freedom… for anyone including boards of directors of big corporations. I’d love it if we could find another way. In the meantime, on this particular issue of GMOs, I do my best by checking when I shop to make sure I am buying organic, free-range, all-natural, foods and by growing my own as much as possible. I see more and more young people concerned about what they eat too; more so than in the past. Hopefully the ordinary person will begin to care enough about the effects of unnatural foods on their health to have an impact on corporate profits. Thankfully, we can share our concern on a person to person level. Thanks for the thought provoking post.

  • Gloria, thank YOU for sharing your thoughts about this complex topic. You make some very valid points, and I appreciate you taking the time to articulate both sides of the issue. xo

  • Well… I’ve gotta say that you are much more of an optimist than I am. I pretty much figure that we’re now living in a plutocracy. Seriously, there is NO way that these “representatives” are gonna enact finance reform, no matter how many people sign the petitions… it would be like biting the hand that feeds them!

    And the cards and mailers are just the tip of the iceberg. I mean think of the billions of advertising dollars that our “free press” just scored from this election. That pretty much takes away any hope that the news media will ever give any serious coverage to the topic – it goes against their interests.

    The part that really frightens me is that the Citizens United decision fails to take into account that these corporate “people” could be foreign owned. Seriously. So now the Saudis or the Chinese are free to buy our elections.

    OK. I’m feeling a bit depressed this morning, Can you tell? 🙂 I’ve been reading all about how the GOP is vowing to do everything they can to take away my health care. Gotta admit, I don’t feel much hope anymore. Sigh.

  • Eliza, recently a vote was held in the senate to limit election spending and it failed big time. As long as our politicians benefit financially from big donors and corporations they wont do anything to stop the hands that feed their lifestyle.

    I watched the votes in three states on GMOs and was saddened only one passed, in Hawaii.

    I have to admit I agree with Cat, short of an actual revolution and rebuilding of our systems I see no good news coming from our government.

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