What would it take to keep the money and lying out of politics?
If you are interested in the challenge of taking the money and lying out of politics. (Both need to go.) Please feel free to use all or parts of this essay.
Let’s make it an issue. Telling folks what can happen to our country by taking money and lying out of politics can be breathtaking.
Some of what follows is directed at a politicians, but most of it is directed at our political system and what it allows.
The political system in place is different from what we had in the early 1950s. At that time politicians went to jail for accepting money (bribes) above the amount they were paid by the people.
Later, to change this bribe situation, congress itself passed laws allowing themselves to accept extra money as a helpful thing in representing their constituents because they needed a lot of money to get reelected, and their argument was…If we spend our time raising money to be reelected, there would be much less time for us to tend to the people’s business, and this tending is what we were elected to do.
The ideas below are not new ideas or my ideas. I’m sure many have thought of them before; however, I hope I can put things in a way that helps spread the idea that we can clean up our current mess in Washington, DC.
So, how do we clean up our political system? Will not allowing money and lying to pollute our political process clean it up?
I say yes, and it will take a while, but it will never happen if we keep talking about it without starting the process. And starting only takes place in the ever present moment with the intent to make one’s voice heard.
So..what may be a good process to start things rolling? One way might be to…
Recruit a well-known person who is willing to promote the initial actions needed to start things and also be the spokesperson for the movement. He or she would assist in recruiting a central coordinator (who might be a college-president type of person) whose purpose would be to aggregate ideas for keeping money and lying out of our political system.
Who would oppose such an idea? People who profit from our present state of affairs: politicians and those who pay them money to gain “favor”.
We can start by getting suggestions from…College student organizations, think tanks, social committees or professors, and alumni…asking for and coming up with solutions from the student body, neighbors, friends, etc.
Town Halls could be asked for doable and innovative ideas for getting money and lying out of our politics, and could be asked to come up with ways to make this a major issue in 2016.
Ask each college group, town hall, and individual contributors send their best ideas to the coordinator’s website who then publishes those on the Internet with credits (and multiple credits when needed). Then any citizen will have a chance to change or to add to or make original suggestions. With all this brain power, we may have many practical and amazing suggestions from which others can whittle out the the suggestion until the a nugget or nuggets are seen and laws created and passed.
An example: Make laws not permitting running-and-elected politicians to lie, misrepresent the truth and half-truths (in effect for twenty-four hours a day), and give huge fines which are paid to a charity or the opponents who were lied about. What about having the politicians who have lied sit in a corner with a dunce cap on for an hour or two on live TV in prime time and streamed over the net. Or some other type of suitable public humiliation.
In order to serve in their elected positions, the elected would have to sign an agreement to not lie and to participate in these humiliations, if caught in a lie.
It’s not against the law to lie, but it should be for politicians!
Why doesn’t it bother us when there’s so much truth-bending, half-truths, and outright lies by our elected officials? It’s because we have grown accustomed to it. It’s the normal state of affairs. And many politicians can’t resist lying because they know it’s much easier to tear down someone’s work or reputations than to create their own good solutions.
Some try to destroy opponents by lying about what he or she stands for, and a doubt is born, and then the liar may win because many believed the lie. Their real message: I’m not very good but I lie better than the other candidate.
Candidates should be speaking to us about a better future and how they are going to make it happen, but that would take a lot of planning and building.
Why is the political money from the rich so appealing? Because it’s not hard to raise. It just keeps piling up without too much effort but with invisible strings attached. Politicians need a lot of money to get reelected.
A civilian oversight committee could keep our elected officials from passing laws or rules that protect themselves and promote their own welfare, like passing a law that raises their salary, or having to work only twelve days a month, etc., etc.
Are we stupid or are we hypnotized for allowing the elected to create laws just for their benefit and for allowing influence to be purchased legally?
Doesn’t having a lot of money give unfair leverage when used in our political system? Is it because money tempts and so allows the shouts of the rich to drown out the whispers of the rest of us? Voting is our voice. Who wants to have only a whisper?
Perhaps, part of any practical way to take the money out of politics would be to create a law making it a treasonous crime for elected officials, their family members, and those running to be elected to accept gifts, favors, or money from businesses or individuals. The government can give equal amounts for campaigning and when elected a good annual salary including a decent vacation.
We could make it a treasonous crime for a current or a former elected official to accept any favors, gifts, or money for casting a vote for laws passed or blocked. The paid-for votes going on right now are turned into legal highway robberies from all of us.
This is hard stuff but it’s necessary to start the process of cleaning things up so the best ideas for improving the circumstances of the average citizen will have a much better chance of getting the attention of the elected.
This can actually happen because of the different type of politicians we can elect during the next decade or two.
Give candidates equal and free time on TV and radio as many have suggested. Onward and upward.
The candidate’s use of the money supplied by the government for his or her campaign will give us an idea of how they might treat our tax dollars.
This new playing field could also cause a sharp rise in voter participation in campaigns. Voters giving their time instead of their money. I know…it’s idealistic to think this way, and I’m not the first, but it is possible.
And why not make it an act of treason to sneak loopholes into our government’s rules and laws? A loophole is a provision in a rule or law only a few people know about because it’s hidden away in its hundreds or thousands of pages of text. A loophole can give the user advantages over competitors or the ability to receive unearned income and may even get the income tax-free.
Here’s a change that most of us have wanted for a long time:
Have each piece of legislation be concerned with a single issue. This would yield a true voting record.
And this would mean more work for the legislators. They might actually read the proposed laws and keep their copies of it in order to compare it to the law after it’s passed if need be.
There would be plenty of time for having all laws be single-issue laws if our elected officials worked eight-hour days like most of us. Of course give our representatives an annual vacation. Let’s aim high. Nobody falls though the net in the USA. Everyone is worthwhile.
Things that need to be changed can be changed if we demand them to be changed, and we can be sure that nothing will change until we demand. How do we demand?
We can demand by refusing to quit pressing for change until we can vote no matter how poor we are. And until all votes in a presidential election will count no matter where a voter lives. This would mean doing away with the vote-canceling Electoral College which is a part of our history, and so “don’t mess with it.” The Electoral College is no longer needed for its original purpose.
The states don’t have electoral colleges, so in states everyone’s vote counts when electing a governor.
We need to vote for candidates who support “no lying” and “no money” for politicians except for a good paycheck from the government.
Vote for hard prison time for legislators who have access to special knowledge and use the information to profit from using it or selling it in insider trading deals.
Allowing “Vote-for-mine-and-I’ll-vote-for-yours.” voting harms everyone and the law-making process. It would make things better if this type of agreement was against the law.
Law makers don’t always read throughly what they are voting for, some add wording which gives favors for their cohorts back home, and they have the habit of tacking the favors onto big important pieces of legislation.
This type of “adding to” happens because we allow it. Things like this are pure corruption which should not be allowed to happen.
In the future we should elect only persons willing to take away the power of the elected to make laws which protect themselves from being arrested for misappropriating (stealing) the tax payer’s money by using loopholes or other methods to steal tax dollars for themselves or their friends back home.
Our elected officials need oversight and would eventually come to like it. It would make them honorable and safe. This is my opinion and I hope yours too.