If We Can Keep It…
For most of the past week, both Ben and Cami have been suffering from a really bad head cold. I did everything I could, including casting spells, to try and avoid it myself. Alas, I was unsuccessful, and as you will hear today I am losing my voice already.
I am long winded this morning, and I realize that the vast majority of people want McNews and McComment, but I feel like I have to get this down in an organized form to make any sense. If you make it through, DROP ME AN EMAIL (which I will read) or a comment and let me know your thoughts on the matter
We spoke yesterday about two things of importance. First, THE WATER BOND. Generally speaking the reaction to the Bond seems positive across the board. The Legislature is patting themselves on the back for “cutting out the pork” and really focusing on the “big” issues. As I have still not read the Bond language, I remain uncommitted at this point. My first question would be, does the bond set aside funds for the inevitable court battles that will happen over the two new dam projects the bond apparently contains? My guess is no, but we need to understand that there will be organizations and individuals who will put a great deal of money into stopping both of these projects. The dams will not be built in time for the rains this year, or even next year. At best they are a decade away, and while I believe them to be necessary and useful, we have already seen the beginning of the fight against them this week.
Playing right along with the water bond and its foreordained fight with those who oppose the dams, is the study (HERE) of which I spoke briefly yesterday by a Princeton University Professor and a Northwestern University Professor who looked at nearly 1800 “public policy issues” for which all of four groups and their positions could be determined. They considered Rich Individuals, the Business Lobby, Organized grass roots groups, such as the Tea Party, and not-rich individuals. What they found was not really surprising in that it confirmed the “Golden Rule,” that is, “those with the gold make the rules.” But the degree to which they found that to be the case is stunning. The study found that in cases where all four groups had a position, the Grass Roots Groups and the Average Voter have virtually no influence on policy.
While I think that most of us already believed that, I am happy to say that the study also reveals why that it is so, and it is as simple as a Dr. Ben Franklin quip, We The People aren’t doing our part. With the worst turnout in history in our last election, is it any wonder that massive amounts of money influence the few people who do vote?
Consider this from our own State. Tim Donnelly was in the lead in the polls right up to a fortnight before the election. With virtually no money being spent, the voters were forced to rely on becoming informed through various sources, such as news outlets, interviews with the candidates, personal recommendations from friends, and even social media. Enter Neel Kashkari who over the course of the last few weeks spent millions of dollars on a single campaign ad and mailers. Initially trailing even Glenn “Jesus Told Me to Run” Champ, Kashkari essentially bought his way to 2nd place finish just ahead of Donnelly. Now, ask yourself a question, that even those who ardently opposed Donnelly or passionately support Kashkari have to look at honestly – without those millions (from Kashkari and Munger), who wins that race for 2nd Place?
That’s the effect that money has.
Is it possible that Donnelly (or even Champ) could still have won? Yes, but it would have taken what is not happening, even on the Republican side – turnout. Which one has to accept based on the numbers, is getting worse by the election with a generally downward trend, meaning that effect of money poured into a campaign is magnified multifold.
This is why both Party’s spend so much time and money on these “Voter Registration schemes.” They believe that newly registered voters are more likely to vote, so why bother developing relationships with long time registered voters when they can gain more votes by expending massive amounts of funds registering (or even re-registering) voters who will then show up, at least once?
By the by, I have had a sitting US Congressman tell me this theory to my face. So I know that they believe it and that they use it to justify the fund raising that goes on and on. “How else am I supposed to run my voter registration scheme, Dave?” is the exact quote.
So what is the solution? On the one hand, the politician have it right – it IS turnout. Like most things, they have select group of controlled turnout in mind and that is what is NOT the solution. At the end of the day the answer is and always has been We the People. If we are not going to do our part to maintain the Republic, then the Politicians get what they want – power and control with the illusion of representative democracy. Under current turnout conditions, they have no reason or motivation to fear the electorate, the grass roots or the average voter.
At the end of the day, the study simply reiterates what we have already known – an engaged, educated and involved electorate is more than just important, it is imperative. Without it, a Republic devolves into an oligarchy controlled by money, and eventually into a tyranny of the few.
If we commit ourselves to education and engagement, perhaps we can reverse the trend. I fear not, but I am obligated to do what I can and to pass on that which I have received, as of first importance, the liberty and freedom given to me by my forefathers.
They were Patriots all, not because they gave speeches, or held office or even had radio show or newspaper column. They were American Patriots because they answered the call of liberty and stood watch over a swamp in the Carolinas as the Tories and Brits threatened the area; because they walked in the summer heat from Ashdown County, Arkansas to Rolla, MO, to enlist in the 1st Arkansas Cavalry (US), to preserve the Union AT A COST TO THEMSELVES THAT ALMOST NEVER GETS remembered. Because when the threat to liberty was worldwide, they set aside their own wishes and wants and went to war. I too, chose to serve my nation and the idea of liberty – even before I really understood what I was doing – and I now have a legacy to pass on to my own son and to my own grandchildren.
Would that they will one day write of me, that I refused to lay down the fight and in the small way which I was able to do so, I helped encourage and educate and inspire people who want liberty and freedom to do the simplest thing that they can to keep that liberty:
I leave you with three quotes from history, to show that while these ideas are not “mine” in origin, they are mine in inheritance, passed to me by generations of Americans who believed in liberty:
“Of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants.” – Alexander Hamilton, the Federalist Papers 1787
“The truth is that men are tired of liberty” – Benito Mussolini, 1922
“A Republic, madam. If you can keep it.” – Dr. Benjamin Franklin, 1787
Posted on August 14, 2014, in News & Notes and tagged Alexander Hamilton, Ben Franklin, California, Champ, Donnelly, Tim, Gilen & Page Study, HIstory, Kashkari, McCutcheon, Money in Politics, Mussolini, Voter Turnout, Voting, Water, Water Bond. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.