For the most part I don’t care about the presidential candidates. I don’t care what their names are. I don’t care what they look like, or how pressed their suits are or what color tie they wear or if they are male or female or if they are over or under a certain age. Frankly I don’t care if they are Democrat or Republican or conservative or moderate or liberal or progressive, or if they are Hindu or Christian or Jewish or Zoroastrian or Secular Humanist or plain old atheist.
I don’t care about any of these things because they do not, nor will they have absolutely any bearing on the current state of our country. To cast my vote based on any of those factors is to base my vote on window dressing.
At that point it’s really about who and what the candidates represent. We choose the candidate that we feel best represents our position, or values, our ideologies of our vision for what we want this nation to be. Those values and ideologies vary from person to person, from region to region, and from state to state. Invariably political leaders will get chosen that don’t represent our own vision and values. That’s the way it goes. It’s impossible to compose a government that will please everyone. We have to accept that.
I’m okay with that. This means that our government is speaking for the majority of the people, so at least our collective voices should affect the outcome of our legislation. We determine our laws by the proxies that we send to government positions to speak on behalf of what we want, right? Isn’t that the definition of democracy?
Unfortunately, that’s not exactly how it works currently. Our laws are not decided by us per se. The legislation is not shaped to provide the greatest benefit to the greatest number of citizens of this country, of our nation’s population. Our laws are designed to maximize the protections and profits of the largest corporations and industries in our country. The influence our votes have on legislation pale in comparison to the influence of corporations through questionable lobbying practices and exorbitant campaign funding.
When we look at the largest lobbies and campaign funders we clearly see their impact on our laws and on our country:
- Big banks get financial regulations loosened up, leading to the 2008 economic crash and a bevy of home foreclosures due to reckless lending practices.
- Lifesaving medications are hardly affordable to many critically ill patients due to legislative protections given to the pharmaceutical industry.
- Approval for Authorized Use of Military Force without timetables coupled with highly lucrative government contracts result in continued loss of life thanks to the defense lobby.
- Oil companies influence laws that make clean energy cost prohibitive while fossil fuel consumption continues to wreak havoc on our ecosystem and our health.
- Biotech agriculture companies use legislation to obfuscate or withhold the degree of information they need to share regarding the use of toxins in their foods.
Adding insult to injury all of these industries get the added bonus of government subsidies, all of which are funded by your and my tax dollars.
Call me crazy but I feel the laws should be proportionately influenced by the greatest count of voices, by the largest show of hands. Instead what I see are laws that are disproportionately influenced by corporations that have the financial means to game the legislative system toward maximizing their profits. Doesn’t it stand to reason the laws should reflect the voter count, not the dollar spent? Otherwise we are left with a financial oligarchy where freedoms, liberties, and rights are available only to those who can afford them.
When I vote, I want to ensure I am voting for the best interest of the country versus the best interest of the corporations. Unfortunately the corporations seem to not have our best interests at heart, only their own. The candidates that allow themselves to be wooed by these monoliths of industry are reflecting the best interest of the companies they essentially serve.
So let me reiterate: I don’t care about the candidates because I don’t need to. I need them to care about us, their constituents. I need them to show that the laws they pass are designed to protect the liberties and freedoms of us citizens. Corporations need no protection beyond what consumers offer them in patronage. It is the candidates who recognizes this and demonstrate it through who they accept as their greatest financial contributors. For at the end of the day, that is to whom they will be beholden. If that happens to be the citizens, then that candidate happens to be the one that will get my vote.