The New York Times editorial dated February 3rd was titled, “More money, more problems for democracy.” That is the thinking of what applies in an arguably relatively better governed society like America, when campaign financing brings unmatched influence to bear in the corridors of power.
We like to be more pointed, and we do so by settling for ‘more money means more power to the money brokers and moneychangers and money givers in this nation. And more for the big boys, translates to less for the smaller, poorer people, whose interests are shoved aside and bypassed, or routinely marginalized and minimized.
There is only so much politicians on the receiving end of any political financing can do and give. There are only so many waking hours in the day, only so many telephone calls (no writings) that can be initiated and received, and only so many people – supplicants, contributors, and special interests’ persons, that can be processed and fixed satisfactorily.
Now, regardless of however this is denied or evaded, this simple fact remains immovably embedded in stone: people who give more cash will enjoy more access.
In politics, there are these two inarguable truths: “politicians have always needed money and wealthy patrons have always found ways to provide it in exchange for special consideration of their needs.” Those who take have to be prepared to give when the bill becomes due.
The people who hand over more cash will benefit from more receptivity and more face time, with more favours granted and more concerns fixed nicely and easily. It is just the way that things are: money talks, it speaks in any language and at high-powered volume and pitch, and the more of it that is made available, the more deafening the music.
It deafens those little people with their little presences and their little problems, such as a job, a house lot, a shortage of medicine or money, or a scarce slot for a descendant. They come to ask for the material usually, the big fish usually bring more when they come to seek protection, buy time, or open the door for more tricks and treasures.
According to the New York Times, the rivers of cash contributed make it “far easier for wealthy individuals and corporations to translate their economic power into political power.” To repeat the assertion from before: when the big boys come to town, they take over, and the small man is rendered invisible and insignificant, and this is regardless of how much heavy lifting or dirty work that he or she may have done for the party.
As the New York Times reminded all of us, over a hundred years ago, Senator Mark Hanna was quoted as saying that, “There are two things that are important in politics. The first is money and I can’t remember what the second is.”
Unlike the good, departed senator, we at this paper can tell one and all what that second thing is: it is the return of greater favours by the politicians to their financial benefactors. Greater are the favours because they add up to more than the tens of millions channeled here to grasping and collaborating political hands in the final cost borne by unsuspecting taxpayers.
It is of the returning through greater favours that dilute or negate legislative proposals. It is the political delivering of those greater favours that hobble responsible agencies from implementing and enforcing comprehensively those rules and regulations designed to protect and sanitize, and which lead to an improved quality of life across the board, through a fair and equitable society.
In the heat of the elections season here, the rhetoric and money have flowed, along with the expectations that come from the latter. Nobody on the giving or receiving end is interested in revealing how much has changed hands. Given the kind of cash that proliferates around this town, a lot of it could be categorized as dark and dirty.
Those in the know, know of the compromises that have had to be made in repayment. It is an unbroken circle, and one which most are determined to keep that way. And that is part of the continuing tragedy of this country.
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