If you aren’t already aware of the assault that is ongoing from the Wrong Right on our democracy and electoral process, you must have been living in a cave for the last year. Though the major media tends to ignore the very real violations of the decades-old voters’ rights laws; the Constitution’s design of representative democracy as our governmental system; the destructive, corruptive effects of the obscene Citizen’s United ruling by the least respected Suprreme Court in the history of the institution; and the out-and-out tampering with ballots that has taken place in Wisconsin and other states run by fascist Republicans, there will never be a lack of “coverage” of the irrelevant BS that occurs on the campaign trail.
Instead of being able to give their views on the truly important issues of the day, candidates for office are forced to either sink into the sludge of negative ads, misquoting and taking their opponent’s words out of context, or be accused of “weakness,” or “lack of leadership” (since when is twisting the truth considered leadership?). I doubt that either President Obama or Mr. Romney would choose to attack each other as they’ve done, but I’m firmly convinced that candidates really have no choice – the methods and madness of campaigns are the products of over-caffeinated, ambitious, ideological competition junkies who see their candidate’s victory as their entré into the Big Time. Oh, for a Matt Sanchez (seventh season of The West Wing – watch it if you haven’t already) who would look the camera in the eye and not only “approve this message,” but refuse to sink into the sludge!
But unfortunately, Mr. Sorkin’s political world is not our reality. But what is our choice as to how to fix it?
First, no matter how hard it is, how expensive, how time-consuming – do whatever you have to do to show up at the polls on election day with your birth certificate, passport, driver’s license, NRA membership card, EKG proving your heart is beating so you must be alive – WHATEVER they demand, give it to them! Form car pools with friends or pool your money together with neighbors to take a cab so you can get there. Make note of the election judges’ names, the brand of the machine that your ballot is fed into. Think like a conspiracy theorist and give yourself as much information about the people, process, and equipment as possible. There may be a class action suit in your future!
Secondly, from now until November 6, every time a political ad comes on the TV or radio or over the internet, TURN IT OFF! Make the Koch brothers waste their billions, reject the super PACs. DON’T LET ANYONE BUY YOUR VOTE! If there’s something you want to know about where any candidate stands on any issue, Google their website, call their campaign office, look up their voting record. Yes, it’s a lot more work than most people are willing to do, but look at the government we have – that’s what comes from voters who are sheep, willing to buy any line or lie they hear, not paying attention to what the person they elected has done while in office, allowing their lives and their country to be harmed by obstructionists and ideologues who care nothing for the will of their constituents.
And finally, help the candidates you are voting for or even candidates from other districts, other states who are the kind of people you want to see in office. Two examples you should note – John Conyers of Michigan and David Gill of Illinois.
Mr. Conyers is the chief sponsor of HR 676, the Improved & Expanded Medicare for All Act and he is running for his 25th term in Congress. He is also co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus and is considered to be a civil rights icon.Though he’s extremely popular among his constituents, he is being challenged this time by three other Democrats in the August 7 primary and he’s had to contend with redistricting. Readers in Michigan are urged to volunteer some time with the campaign and single-payer advocates everywhere, please consider sending in a donation. Both can be done at the campaign’s website at www.johnconyers.com. We can’t afford to lose him!
David Gill is a first-time candidate for Congress from Illinois. He is a physician and an outspoken advocate for single-payer. Having never run for office before, he was a bit of a surprise primary winner, especially since he did not have the support of the Illinois Democratic establishment. In addition to his experience as an ER doctor giving him a unique view on the healthcare system, he has pledged not to take any “soft money,” relying instead on contributions from individuals. Luckily, Senator Dick Durbin is now supporting him as are many in his central Illinois district, as well as single-payer activists throughout the nation. Champaign-Urbana area readers can call his office at (217) 391-4367 to volunteer and donations can be made at his website www.gill2012.org.
I’m sure there are other single-payer candidates out there and I will continue to list them on the 2012 candidates page. I confess it needs an update since the last round of primaries and if you are a candidate or know of one who isn’t listed, please send me name, district, and website/contact info and I’ll post it as soon as possible!
It may be a hackneyed phrase, but this really COULD be the most important election of our lives. Those of us who are independents, Democrats, and progressives must understand that we can no longer sit on the sidelines clinging idealistically to the belief that if we take the high road, we’ll win in the end or that all politicians are corrupt, evil people so what’s the use? We need to grow up, learn from the strategic thinking of the other side and adapt it to our purposes and our values. I’ve said it before – we need to redefine ourselves as kick-ass liberals and we can start now and continue in November by showing the Wrong Right that there are more of us than there are of them and we’re not going to be sheep anymore.