My Opinion

Can You Be Purchased?

img_0076The following is from a book review in the Wall Street Journal of “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right” comparing current-day America to the Gilded Age of the 1890s and bemoaning the ways in which rich people today are trying to “remake America” to advance their interests.

Rich people and some not so rich people have always tried to advance their interests sometimes not in the best interest of the majority of Americans; that includes the billionaires and such groups as the AARP and unions. Oh you say, they are only working for their members. True, but that does not mean their interests are in your best interest or in a whole generation’s interest.

It can be argued that the cynicism behind the politics-for-sale claim, even when displayed by a talented writer like Ms. Mayer, reflects a distrust of the American democratic system—as if “the people” are commodities to be purchased and not autonomous beings who can think for themselves.

So the question is or at least my question is how gullible are the American people that money can turn them into the radical right … or radical left for that matter?  Are average Americans incapable or simply not inclined to check facts and figures themselves? Are average Americans easily persuaded by glib statements, quips, one liners and inaccurate and misleading Facebook posts?

Is your vote for sale? Are you influenced without question by PAC or other political ads you see on television?  

Why do we focus on the influence peddlers rather than those influenced?  When a bribe is involved aren’t both parties violating the law? 

Why doesn’t the work of Congress reflect the needs of working families Bernie? You have been in Congress for decades. Why did you vote against campaign finance reform in 2006? 

Are Americans smart enough, do they care enough to keep this Republic going? 

I am not optimistic, what about you?

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Categories: My Opinion, Politics

2 replies »

  1. Nothing new here. Bread and circuses has been around since ancient Rome. The question is, will vote buying lead to totalitarianism as it has in the past.

    “Are Americans smart enough, do they care enough to keep this Republic going?” Let’s just say that I have serious doubts. The ancient Romans at least got entertained and had their belly’s filled. The American public sells their votes for empty promises.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bread_and_circuses

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  2. We may be to late. Alexis de Tocqueville 1835 – The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.
    This is a variant expression of a sentiment which is often attributed to Tocqueville or Alexander Fraser Tytler, but the earliest known occurrence is as an unsourced attribution to Tytler in “This is the Hard Core of Freedom” by Elmer T. Peterson in The Daily Oklahoman (9 December 1951): “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.”
    Variant: The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.

    We have found the enemy, and it is us.

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