Reducing Money in Politics
Do you think there is too much money in politics? Do you think politicians are bought by big money contributions? We need to do something about the extreme amount of money being raised and spent on elections. But it is unlikely that the politicians, or the industries that profit from the current mess, will allow change. What can we do? We can reduce the influence of money in politics if more of us participated in elections.
First we should recognize that politics is the way we make decisions in a democratic society. It is how we decide priorities, spending, and public policy. If citizens abdicate, then special interests take over. Refusing to participate because politics is “dirty” is self-defeating. We must abandon the notion that politics is not a subject for polite company.
We also need to educate ourselves on the issues. We need to learn enough about the issues to avoid being manipulated by the attack ads. We need to think about what is important for us and our community. This doesn’t have to be a lengthy process but it does require digging deeper than sound bites.
Citizens need to be active. Here are some simple, practical actions anyone can do to make our democracy work and reduce the influence of money:
- Talk to you friends, neighbors, and family. Let them know what you think. Don’t “argue politics” but do talk about what is important to you (good schools, fair wages, secure retirement, healthcare etc.)
- Make your own yard signs. It is easy and cheap to do. You can often use recycled materials and free paint from the recycling center. If everyone supported their candidate by making several signs, the advertising impact would be huge with NO fund raising required!
- Have a house party. Local candidates love these “meet and greet” events. Invite your friends and have a potluck. It isn’t hard!
- Volunteer. There are many things to be done and you don’t need to be a political sales person.
- Contribute. Only about 4% of the population contributes anything to candidates. Most of the money is given by 0.5% of the population. If we all gave a little the influence of big money would be reduced.
Remember the old saying, “the world belongs to those who show up.” Take responsibility in your area and show up for the elections. Help defeat big money.