First thing I see on Facebook this morning (still chewing my toothbrush) is this from Robert Reich;
The final tabulation of the percent of eligible voters who cast their ballots in the midterm elections is 36.3 percent. That’s the lowest turnout since 1942 (when the U.S. was in the middle of World War II and many couldn’t get to the polls).
To what do you attribute the record-low turnout? (a) Most Americans are so turned off by the negativism and mean-spiritedness of politics that we don’t want to participate. (b) We don’t think our vote makes any difference because big money has taken over. (c) We like the direction the country is moving in and therefore feel no reason to vote. (d) We’re working so hard these days that we just couldn’t take the time. (e) Other? (I’ll give you my assessment tomorrow.)
The number one reason that I’ve heard cited for not going to the polls during my time canvassing over the years has been that the person did not think that their vote mattered. With Citizens United and other outcomes to point to, those people who didn’t believe they should be voting now have something concrete to point at and say “see, my vote doesn’t count”.
It is true that voting is not enough participation to see that your views are expressed by your representatives; but then voting is just the last event in a long chain of actions that a responsible citizen should be taking in order to make sure our representative government works.
You cannot (like so many libertarian/anarchists/voluntaryists on the internet) simply say “I’m not part of this system, it is imposed on me” and thereby withhold your permission for government to operate at all, simply because you don’t agree with what it’s doing. The systems do not require your permission to continue operating.
In fact, the new leaders in our government prefer that you don’t participate and simply accept their plans for you. They’ve got a pretty good money making scheme going here (have had it going for awhile now, since Eisenhower’s time) and all this noise about participation sounds like interference.
We owe it to ourselves and our children not just to vote, but to take back our government from the corporations currently profiting from it, and eliminate those corporations from the process entirely because they are not only not people, but their participation allows certain moneyed people more access and influence than whole classes of real suffering people who actually do the work in this country.
So the short answer is (b) in my experience, but the solution is not just to vote, but to invade the Democratic and Republican Parties with our selves and our views and turn this country around. Prove that American’s still have a will of their own.
Further, the following groups were specifically formed to eliminate the effects of Citizens United, to get money out of politics and hand the government back to the people, where the power belongs.
Wolf PAC‘s petition reads I support a Constitutional amendment saying that corporations are not people and they do not have the right to spend money to buy our politicians. Can’t get more straightforward than that. They have had some success getting states to back this. Check their website for the latest info.
Rootstrikers is the group associated with Lawrence Lessig. His book Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress–and a Plan to Stop It is free online now. The group is more generally aimed at ending the corruption, of which Citizens United is just a part, not just amending the Constitution.
Move to Amend is another petition group, this one without a specific petition it is promoting. It’s list of goals currently reads as follows;
- Accountability and responsibility, both personally and organizationally
- Movement building
- Dedication to Move to Amend mission, goals and tactics
- Commitment to anti-oppression within ourselves, communities, work places, policies, and representation
Click the link and read up on the group if you want to know more.