Legal Bribery in American Politics, The Career Politican, Part II
In my previous blog post, I began ranting about the problems of having “career politicians” in office. This is part II of a series on politicians and corruption in American government. I will try to make each part a stand alone post, but it is probably best to read this series in the order that it was written.
When a politician is elected to office, sometimes even before, they are inundated with people and businesses that want to try to influence how they will vote on certain bills and issues. Of course these people want the politician to vote in a way that is beneficial to their business or cause. Beginning with the Industrial Revolution, American businesses saw tremendous growth in demand for products and the profits that that demand created. No longer having time to meet with politicians one on one, these business owners hired liaisons or “lobbyists” to do their bidding for them.
Webster’s New World dictionary defines a lobbyist as “one who tries to get legislators to support certain measures”. In order to get what they want, these lobbyist need to offer the politician something that he wants. What do all politicians, especially career politicians want? They want to be re-elected and that takes money and votes. So a lobbyist will propose that if a politician backs a certain measure, the company he represents will make a campaign contribution to that politician election fund. Now, no matter what promises he made to the people that elected him, he has sold himself to a corporation and represents their interest, not the people.
Power is a drug on which the politicians are hooked. They buy it from the voters, using the voters’ own money.
To complicate matters even more, we have politician A, who now represents corporation A and politician B representing corporation B. Both politicians need to get their corporate bills passed, so they need additional support. A says to B, “I’ll support your bill if you support mine.” Both bills get passed, so the corporations got what they wanted; the politicians got campaign money, so they got what they wanted. The people are the only ones that didn’t get what they wanted, and they were the ones that elected the politician in the first place.
Money is not the only way to influence a politician; some can be bought with sex. It has happened many times and a few politicians have been caught, but very few. Voter influence is another way to buy a politician. The corporation that I work for is union and on some vehicles in our parking lot are bumper stickers that state “U@W supports Obama”, this doesn’t guarantee the union members will vote as the union suggests, but it’s highly likely because union members support their union just as they expect their union to support them. In order to get this support, a politician has to be able to offer something in return, ie, something that will benefit the union.
This is the heart of our dysfunctional government. These politicians lie to the American people, to get elected, filling them with false hopes of a brighter future. Then prostitute themselves for money, sex, and votes. This is nothing more than “legal bribery” in our political system and the worst part may be that the Supreme Court has sanctioned it.
Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.
– Ronald Reagan
I believe that all lobbyists and special interest groups should be illegal. They have no basis or right for their existence except for the greed of the corporations they represent. Any person or group offering a politician money, sex, or votes should be immediately imprisoned and the company they represent should be made to pay a fine that goes to reduce our deficit. Any politician caught accepting a bribe from a lobbyist, should be removed from office and imprisoned for violating the trust of the American people.
I realize that we probably can’t get rid of campaign contributions completely, but they should have a cap; whether corporate or private they should have a $250 maximum limit. Anything above this limit should be considered bribery. This money then should go into a federal campaign fund. Also, to level the playing field for anyone to run for office, no candidate should be allowed to use their own money to campaign with. This violates our constitutional principles of equal opportunities for all people in our nation. If a candidate qualifies for federal campaign monies, then that is what should be used to run for office. Otherwise, the candidate should hit the campaign trail just like everyone else has for the last 200 plus years.
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