I am scared.
Rachel Maddow discussed financing of elections friday night. She discussed the hundreds of millions of dollars that people are raising for Mitt Romney. She questioned what this means for Obama and had Harvey Weinstein on to discuss why people are not funding Obama in the same manner. The title of the segment was "Scary Movie 2012".
I really like Rachel Maddow. Ultimately, she is too conservative for me, and supports capitalistic issues that I find difficult to stomach, but overall, I like her. As much as I like Rachel, I was disappointed that she didn't discuss the real scary story.
The real scary story is that according to a report by The National Alliance to End Homelessness and The Homelessness Research Institute an estimated 643,067 people experienced homelessness in the U.S. on a given night in 2011. The national rate of homelessness was 21 homeless people per 10,000 people in the general population. Issues like homelessness, foreclosures, hunger -- these are the real scary stories in the United States right now.
In a USDA report by Alisha Coleman-Jensen, Mark Nord, Margaret Andrews and Steven Carlson, They found that in 2010, 17.2 million households, 14.5 percent of households (approximately one in seven), were food insecure, the highest number ever recorded in the United States. In a nation that has excess food and grows corn that is only edible in processed forms, why is our population going hungry? Our fertile land can support our population.
Last month, Saki Knafo and Joy Resmovits, here at HuffPost reported that, "The U.S. Education Department reported that, for the first time, the number of homeless students in America topped one million by the end of the 2010-2011 school year. These kids live in shelters and on the streets, and increasingly in hotels and on the couches of friends and relatives." How can our children learn if they do not know where they are sleeping tonight?
Foreclosures increased from 2.83 million units in 2009 to 2.88 million units in 2010, a 2 percent increase. Nationally, 1 out of every 45 housing units was in foreclosure in 2010. The people in foreclosure will possibly be added to the homeless population next year. Additionally, the stress of foreclosure hurts the production of our workers, the relationships of adults in the families, and increases the stress of our children.
Rachel also discussed the lack of power in the U.S. right now. The reason, above ground power lines. Why is our infrastructure so broken? If we are going to live in a land run by a government then I expect that one of the things we could do as a nation would be to keep the power on. In heat waves like the one we have been experiencing, people are dying due to lack of power.
Our country is homeless, hungry, and dying while our politicians and wealthiest members of our society are spending money on advertising. They are spending money on 30 second ad spots.
What is our president concerned with right now? What is the topic of his calls with donors? It was widely reported that President Obama said in a call last week, "We are going to see more money spent on negative ads through these super PACs and anonymous outside groups than ever before. And if things continue as they have so far, I'll be the first sitting president in modern history to be outspent." "We just can't be outspent 10 to 1," Obama said. Why not energize his donors on the real issues?
Obama should not be concerned with raising millions of dollars for advertising. He should be focused on homelessness, hunger, and keeping power on for the people.
Mike Allen, from Politico, tweaked the otherday, "@MittRomney campaign obliterates fundraising goals, raises over $100m in JUNE, best month so far (record: Obama raised $150m in 9/08)" This is not just a Republican issue.
This is what our country has come to. 30 second ad spots. I think it would behove President Obama to put a stop to this. I think that he would gain more support if he publicly said no. What if he took the millions of dollars for his campaign and funded homeless shelters, food banks, etc. How many foreclosed homes could this campaign money buy? There are more than five times as many vacant homes in the U.S. as there are homeless people, according to Amnesty International USA. What if this campaign money went there?
The Green Party has it right, they do not accept corporate money. According to ABC News last month, "[Presidential candidate] Jill Stein doesn't have much money, partly because she doesn't accept donations from anyone who hires a lobbyist." I'm not saying the Green Party has everything right but when I look at their platform I finally see something I can believe in.
In an interview in 2011 Presidential candidate Jill Stein stated that one of her key goals is, "Restore our freedom of political expression, our imperiled civil liberties, and protections from government surveillance by the swollen Homeland Security complex. End the hijacking of political speech by the biggest spender, (resulting from the Citizens United and Buckley v. Valeo Supreme Court decisions). Create real freedom of political expression, full public participation, and informed voter choice -- free from fear and intimidation -- at the polls through policy reforms including: publicly funded elections, free access to public airwaves for all legitimate candidates, instant runoff voting and proportional representation, fair ballot access for all political parties and candidates, safeguards against electronic election fraud, and an end to voter suppression schemes, the corporate-electoral revolving door, and rampant influence-peddling by lobbyists."
I struggle with the idea of government in general. I dream, and work, for a day when we can all be free beings living in this land in peace. However, I am also a realist. I realize that we are not there right now. I realize that our country has always been run by a small number of elite men and that the small number of elite men running our country have become more powerful and fewer in number than ever before in the United States.
We need to stand up to our politicians and say no to corporate spending in elections.